Blue Monday claims to be the most depressing day of the year. It typically falls on the third Monday of January. Using a formula including weather conditions, debt level, difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay. Time since Christmas, time since failing at our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling the need to take action on this. Here are 8 fantastic tips for beating the blue Monday blues!
Blue Monday is NOT the most depressing day of the year, it is a marketing ruse made up by a travel company 15 years ago to sell more holidays!!!
Does Blue Monday Trivialise Mental Health?
Well, I would be quick to say Yes here. Because that is what it feels like, has felt like in the past. However, I think now that people are questioning Blue Monday it means we can have more discussions about mental health at a time of year we might not have before.
What can we do?
Be more aware of our mental health.
We all have mental health the same as we all have physical health. We need to start thinking about mental health in the same way. If we are physically ill, we go and see a doctor, but for some reason, when we are mentally unwell, we hide it. If we don’t see the correct medical professionals and get the right help, we can’t be mentally healthy.
The Samaritans are using the opportunity to get people talking by changing Blue Monday to Brew Monday. They say when it’s cold and grey outside, getting people together to connect over a warming cuppa and a good conversation helps to make us feel better. It helps us manage the ups and downs of life.
I will be doing a Facebook Live on Monday 20th January with a brew and having a chat with anyone who wants to engage. You don’t even have to comment if you don’t want to!
Signs Of Mental Health Problems
There are lots of telltale signs that someone is starting to struggle with their mental health. Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much
- Low or no energy
- Avoiding everyday tasks and commitments
- Increased drinking and smoking
- Severe mood swings
- Arguing with family and friends
- Feeling like everyone is against you
- Thinking of harming yourself and others
Things We Can Do To Improve Our Mental Health
There are lots of things we can do to help and improve our mental wellbeing. Here are some things I recommend, whether you are currently mentally unwell or have been in the past and are trying to stay mentally healthy.
- Eat Healthier
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Talk to someone
- Watch a mood-boosting movie
- Listen to mood-boosting music
Mental Health Check-In
When I am struggling with my mental health, there are some distinct telltale signs. I stop getting dressed, I sleep more (although it is not restful) so I end up feeling more tired. Binge eat and drink more alcohol. Or I cry for no apparent reason, and I become snappy with those I am closest to.
I don’t always see these signs in myself until it is too late and so I now do a mental health check in once a week. I make a list of all of the things that mean I might be struggling with my mental health and I go through the list. Doing this often highlights to me something I would not have noticed if I hadn’t done my “check-in”.
I do my check-in once a week because that way, I can catch myself before I become mentally unhealthy. I make sure that I am using all of my coping strategies and try to turn things around before they get more serious.
Everyone will have different strategies and different things that help them, but here are some of the things that help me.
Walking either by myself or with the dog really helps me. It gets the blood pumping, and that’s good for me physically, but it also gives my brain a chance to switch off from all of the distractions at home. If I’m working but can’t seem to achieve anything, I take a break and go for a walk. Giving myself space to clear my head really helps and I often come back feeling more relaxed and more productive.
Music is a great way to feel better. I have a playlist on my phone called “My Happy Music” this is the playlist I put on if I start to feel low. It is a mix of fun and energetic songs that encourage me to move around and sing out loud. This, in turn, takes my mind off what might have been bothering me before listening to the playlist.
TV and Movies are great mood lifters, I have specific programmes and movies to help boost my mood. My go-to programmes are Friends, Gilmore Girls, and Gavin & Stacey. When I watch these programmes, I struggle not to feel happy. If I don’t feel satisfied when watching these, then that is a sure sign that I need to think about asking for help!
My Strategies Part II
Audiobooks are amazing. I found audible when I was at my lowest point, and it has really helped to get through daily life. Silence causes me PTSD Flashbacks, and so having the option to listen to a book means I can avoid silence if I need to. I also find that if I listen to a book where someone is worse off than me, I start to feel lucky and change my thinking. Or again, like TV shows, I can listen to some of my favourite uplifting books that rarely fail to make me feel happy.
Keeping my hands busy is as essential as voiding the silence. If I have nothing to do, I get myself into a vicious cycle of feeling low and going over hurtful past experiences. I have tried a few things to keep myself busy. I have recently started to make jewellery (nothing fancy just some simple beading), and I’m finding this really helpful. Not only are my hands and brain busy, but there is an end result that makes me feel a sense of achievement that I can also give to someone as a gift and make them feel happy too!
When things become too much for me, and these strategies are failing to work, I need to switch off from social media. It’s hard to do because we rely so much on social media and our phones. But at the same time having all of these apps and ways to contact someone at the drop of a hat is not at all healthy and can become extremely overwhelming. At these times, I find it necessary to switch off social media and take a break for however long I need. I delete my apps so that I’m not tempted or switch off my phone. So that’s all of our 8 fantastic tips for beating the Blue Monday blues!
Mental Health and depression is a positive thing. We are not as a collective more depressed on one particular day of the year. So let’s take this opportunity to become more aware of mental health, get talking and help each other as much as we can. We hope that our 8 fantastic tips for beating the Blue Monday blues have helped.
If you need any more support with beating the Blue Monday blues, then consider joining the Chewigem Sensory Support Group!
Contact us here with any questions you may have