Blue Monday falls on the 18th January this year, it’s the most depressing day of the year, apparently but why is that?
A combination of post-Christmas blues, back-to-work, the arrival of the dreaded credit card bills for the festive period and this year, most of us are in a Covid Lockdown so this can often lead to many people not being able to cope and feeling a bit down.
What can we all do to spot the symptoms and avoid feeling down?
We can all go through tough times in our lives, when we may experience periods of stress, anxiety or low mood, it’s part of life. However, Blue Monday has been described as the most depressing day of the year, but whether you believe this or not, you should be thinking of how you can best support your mental health on this day, much the same as you should on any other day of the year.
How can we recognise if things aren’t quite right with our mental health?
We are all different, but there are some common signs to look out for. Are you experiencing low moods and a sense of anxiety about the present or the future? Do you have a feeling of dread for some of the day? This can indicate anxiety for some people. Or, are you struggling to cope with your emotions. Do you feel angry and upset more than you would usually? If you find yourself struggling over a period of time and it’s affecting your day-to-day life, don’t be afraid to seek help. You can talk to your GP, if that’s possible right now, or friends and family. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends, then there are mental health charities who can offer support on the telephone.
Ways to improve your mental health
Exercise can be incredibly effective for managing your mental health and it also has the bonus of also improving your physical health. Getting enough exercise and being active is important for both your mental and physical health. Keeping active can help to improve your mood and general well-being.
One of the most important things is to pick an exercise that you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with an exercise that you enjoy. Exercise can be anything, from walking the dog to running 10K. Go with whatever exercise you can do and remember, if you haven’t exercised for a while, it’s important to talk to your GP so you don’t push yourself too far too soon. Setting small goals can help you to stay motivated and see signs of progress.
Sleep is so pivotal to feeling good. We all know how we feel when we don’t sleep properly, rotten. A lack of sleep can affect how your feel both physically and mentally, but we all know that when we have a lot on our mind it can be hard to sleep well.
There are some really minor changes we can all make to improve the quality of our sleep. Getting into a good routine can help; making sure you relax before bedtime, which could be reading, meditating or maybe you like to take a warm bath. Try to avoid your phone just before you go to bed and also try to avoid reading or watching the news. There’s so much negative news at the moment and your brain won’t react kindly to be bombarded with negativity just before you go to sleep.
Find your balance
If you feel like you have a lot on your plate, planning your time can make you feel more in control of things.
Try writing lists, prioritising tasks and setting goals. All of these tasks can give your life some structure and you can get a sense of achievement as you tick these goals off your list of tasks. It might seem like a big task to start with but once you get into the habit of writing goals, it will become second nature.
You could also speak to other people about your tasks. Often other people can help you to identify what your important tasks are and what you can perhaps defer or delegate.
Take a break and be kind to yourself
It’s also important to take breaks whilst you are at work. If you can, head outside for a short walk or call someone for a chat at lunchtime to make sure you get away from your desk.
This may just seem like common sense, but we’re all busy and it’s important to reflect on how you feel at work, rather than solely focussing on how productive you are.
Share your problems
If you’re worried that you are struggling with your mental health, then try to share your problems. This could be speaking to your GP or speaking to friends and Family.
It can be helpful to keep a mood diary to keep track of how you’re feeling or to write down a list of things that you’d like to talk about so that you can get the most from your appointment. There are also some really good tips on the NHS website for managing your mental health.
Don’t isolate yourself
It’s good to take time out but be careful not to isolate yourself from friends and family, who can be a great source of support if you’re struggling with your mental health.
These are all really simple tips to follow and they can make a big difference to all of us and our mental health. If you are still struggling on a particular day, then remember you can always call the Samaritans who can offer emotional support over the telephone.
January is the toughest month of the year but it’s just 31 days and at the end of January, we are all one step closer to Spring. Take care x