My Top 5 Tips for Beating Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday which makes it officially the most depressing day of the year. No, I’m not just saying that, it is honestly believed that the third Monday in January is more depressing than facing the mess left behind on the day after Boxing Day, or that day in the middle of the summer holidays when you’ve run out of activities and it starts to rain.

It is said that Blue Monday is when we people feel at their lowest. It is partially caused by post-Christmas slump and endless wait for January’s pay day, along with the dark days and appalling weather we typically get at the start of the year. For those of us in the UK, we will be facing Blue Monday 2021 in the middle of a national lockdown, while juggling remote learning, working from home and general day-to-day life. This could make it the bluest Blue Monday possible.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began last year, there has been a massive increase in people searching for help with their mental health. If you are finding everything a bit overwhelming and are fighting the temptation to spend the day hidden under your duvet, I thought I would share the top 5 tips which have helped me to get through bouts of anxiety and depression. I have struggled with my mental health for many years now, but over time I have found techniques which help me to function and recover more quickly. There is no one-size fits all solution and what works for me may not work for everyone. But, if you are struggling, I hope that something on this list will be useful to you.

1. Go for a walk – this is probably the last thing you really feel like doing, but it honestly does work. Getting outside for some fresh air helps to clear you mind and gives you a change in perspective. It won’t make all of your problems go away, but the endorphins released by exercising might just make it easier to deal with. If I am finding things tough, I will take my dog out for a walk. That way, I get to escape the children too.

2. Music – As I said in my blog ‘music is the answer‘, music has always been a huge part of my life. When I am feeling low, I will find a playlist and turn it up as loud as possible. Whether I simply listen, sing or dance my socks off, the music always helps. Try it.

3. Talk to a friend – pre-pandemic, I had two or three friends that could just pop-in on and they would always be happy to offer a cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on. Obviously, due to the pandemic, this isn’t possible at the moment. But, there are still other things that you can do. If you are going on a walk, why not meet up with a friend and walk together (this is allowed under current restrictions). You can take a travel mug and set the world to rights. Alternatively, there are many social media and video-chat options available. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you don’t have to be alone.

4. Read a book – this one might sound a bit weird, but hear me out. For me, books have always provided an escape in to another world. I could be anyone, do anything and forget real life for a little while. When I was a teenager, I read constantly and books genuinely helped me through my separation and divorce by providing an alternative universe that I could live in, albeit temporarily. When times are tough, I always find myself reaching for the familiar pages of long-loved books. Give it a go. Find a book that you enjoyed as a teenager or one that has touched you in some way, curl up under a blanket and escape for a little while. If you are not really a fan of reading, why not try an audio book to give you the same sense of escapism?

5. Eat good food – while it is tempting to reach for the pizza and chocolate when you’re feeling low, your body won’t thank you for it. Depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues can be made worse if you are missing vitamins and minerals, so it is important to make sure that you are eating properly. If you struggle to find the motivation to cook, stock up on health ready-meals and snacks. Most supermarkets now offer a wide range of ready-made options. This way, you can eat well with minimal effort.

Above all, please reach out if you are struggling. If you don’t have anyone close by who can help you then there are a huge number of charities and organisations that you can access for help. I have listed a few below:

CALM – www.thecalmzone.net – 0800 585858

Men’s health forum – www.menshealthforum.co.uk

Mind – www.mind.org.uk – 0300 1233393

Samaritans – www.samaritans.org.uk – 116 123

Young Minds – www.youngminds.org.uk – 0808 8025544

Refuge – www.refuge.org.uk – 0808 2000247

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.