Mental health charity Mind, have been trying to bust the Blue Monday myth, the idea that there's one day of the year that is the most depressing for most people, arguing that it makes a serious condition seem trivial.
Mind’s Head of Information Stephen Buckley said:
“Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening. 1 in 6 people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts."
If you're struggling with depression, every day is challenging and I hope you can reach out to a mental health professional to get the help and support you need.
In terms of general wellbeing, it is true that January can be a tough month for some – Xmas is over, some of us are broke, the new year's resolutions have been broken and it’s cold and dark. It’s no wonder that Blue Monday was invented, which acknowledges that this time of year is hard. This year is possibly even tougher, as we have the added stresses of the pandemic and lockdown.
However, there are some things we can do that may help us feel better and lift our mood.
Here are my top 5 tips to help beat the January blues:
1. Exercise – A little goes a long way! Sometimes it is hard to find the motivation to exercise, but the good news is, that you don’t have to do much for it to make a big difference to how you feel. If you can, exercising outdoors can be extremely beneficial. A brisk walk round the block, the park or beach can do wonders for our wellbeing and help lift the spirits.
2. Speaking to people that are close (friends, family etc..) - If you’re not feeling great, it can be tempting to shut yourself away and keep feelings bottled up. However, talking about these feelings to people that you trust can help you feel better. You don’t have to go through these times on your own. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved!
3. Mindfulness – Being in the moment and forgetting all your surroundings can have huge therapeutic value. Sometimes our daily life means that it is hard to find these moments. Even if you can find 10 minutes to switch off, relax and do away with the daily stresses, it can be very good for your mental health. There are some great links on Youtube that help deal with relaxation and mindfulness. Enjoy!
4. Distraction – Sometimes it is helpful to distract from how you are feeling, especially if you are dwelling on issues. Think about the things that make you relax, laugh, smile and the things that you enjoy. Take time out to watch that movie, read that book, chat with that friend etc... Distractions can help you feel more balanced during times of stress and more positive, as you will be engaging in the things that you enjoy.
5. Clear the clutter – If your space is a mess and full of clutter, it is likely to increase your stress levels. Being in a cluttered environment can make it difficult to focus. Why not have a sort through, a clear out? Once you do this, your mind will be less cluttered and can help you feel less stressed. You can give any good bits that you want to clear out to charity, the act of giving will also make you feel good.
Thanks for reading my January blog. Take care of yourselves!
This content is general information only, not advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please contact a mental health professional or contact the Samaritans.