Blue Monday

Today is considered the most ‘blue’ day of the year. With Christmas in the distant past and new year’s resolutions coming to a falter, many people seem to feel more down in January than any other time of the year.

We would like to share with you some top tips on how to beat the January blues.

1.Understand that this is normal.

There are biological reasons why many people feel low and lack energy during the dark months. Understanding that it’s a natural response is helpful.

2. Get as much daylight as possible.

Lack of daylight is partly why people suffer “winter blues”. So, take every opportunity to be outside during the day.

3. Beware of New Year resolutions! 

People tend to make resolutions now because of guilt, and that’s not the best long term motivator. They tend to make difficult and vague resolutions, such as “save money”, “be more organised” or “lose weight”. Then they fail, and feel worse. If you’re going to make a resolution, make sure it’s one you can manage and measure. Then when you do it you’ll feel better! (Which will encourage you to do it again.)

4. Exercise

This may make some of us shudder but it is one of the best ways to fight depression and improve wellbeing and mood. The good news (for me!) is that it doesn’t have to mean getting hot and sweaty – a brisk walk is perfect (and gives you daylight, too.) You may not fancy exercise but you’ll feel much better afterwards.

5. Identify your worries

If you have specific things that are making you feel anxious or sad, make a list and add possible solutions. If a solution is “ask someone for help”, do it! Writing things down helps.

6. Do something new

Every year is different. How will you make this one different rather than waiting for it to happen to you? On your own or with a friend, throw ideas around till you find one thing you’d love to achieve, do or learn this year. Work out what steps you need to take. Make a plan and start the first step.

7. Read for pleasure

Burying yourself in a gripping book of your choice is a great way to take your mind off feeling low. Reading for pleasure has so many health benefits that I see it as a necessity, not a luxury!

8. Eat properly

When feeling down, we are often drawn to sugar and junk food and we eat too little or too much. You can improve how you feel by eating a good, varied diet with things like nuts, fruit and veg, dairy, fish, pulses and grains. Learn to cook! What we put in our bodies makes a difference.

9. See a doctor if necessary

If your low mood is severe and lasts more than a couple of weeks, see a GP, in case you need treatment. Although my other advice will help, it won’t be enough if you have clinical depression.

10. You are not alone

Lots of your friends and peers will be going through the same or similar feelings, but you may not realise it. Find someone to talk to – a friend or a trusted adult. Or team up with a friend to support each other. If the first person you talk to doesn’t understand, try someone else. We’re all in this life together and there are people out there who want to help you.