Were you exasperated by the very thought of Blue Monday this week?
According to the media, it’s a day we feel at our most ‘blue’ and miserable, because of the bleak weather, the post-festive debt, the length of time until our next Bank Holiday, and the fact we’ve turned our back on New Year’s resolutions by now.
But is this appropriate as an awareness day?
Is there a danger that by ‘marking it’ in the calendar as so-called Blue Monday, we’re somehow making light of how crippling and confusing the issues of low mood and depression can be for you, your colleagues, and members of your family?
What does one of the UK’s leading mental health charities have to say on the matter?
Interestingly, MIND says it doesn’t like the idea of the day, because it doesn’t want to poke fun in an area of such sensitivity, or to suggest that someone with depression might have so only for a particular date.
Their perspective is clearly valid, and a worthy prompt that we women should all play a role in recognising how our colleagues and loved ones might be feeling – at any point in the year – and that we have a better understanding of the signs and signals which suggest someone we know is dealing with low mood, or indeed, depression.
If you’ve passed by Blue Monday but been more aware of your depressive symptoms yourself, or those a friend or loved one might be experiencing, here are five ways you can do something TODAY to help improve your mood.
These are also great tips for ways in which to support a friend, neighbour or colleague.
1 Get Some Sunlight
There’s nothing like Vitamin D to boost our brains. Sunlight is known to have an important factor in supporting mental health. Yes it may be chilly, but do try to get outside during the day. Alternatively, consider using a light box.
2 Exercise for Endorphins
You may be struggling for motivation, but even if you just take a short walk, take part in a low-level exercise class, or anything to get your heart pumping, you’ll certainly reap the benefits.
3 Nourish Well
Never underestimate the importance of eating and drinking well when your mood is poor. Eating the right kind of foods, and staying hydrated, can really support your brain health and keep you in brighter spirits.
4 Have a Conversation
The worst thing you can do if you are feeling low is to go silent. Reach out for a chat with a colleague or friend. You don’t have to discuss the depths of your thoughts if you don’t want to. Just meeting and engaging in conversation can remind you how valued you are.
5 Seek a Professional
If you find that your mood simply isn’t lifting, and you’re in a constant state of low mood, with no sense of hope or enthusiasm, do consider finding the right professional support to help you. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will start to feel brighter and embrace the things you used to enjoy.