With the joy of Christmas now a distant memory, dark days and nights and the cold, wet weather taking their toll, it’s no wonder the third Monday in every January has been dubbed Blue Monday.
But what can you do to improve your mood or if the post-Christmas, winter blues are turning into a more serious case of depression or anxiety?
Below is some advice and guidance as to how you can improve your health and wellbeing and where to turn if you need further support.
It is well known that exercise not only helps your physical fitness, it also raises your self-esteem and causes chemical changes in the brain which positively enhance your mood too.
Why not put on your boots and get out in the fresh air, take a walk with family or friends, or even find a walking group near you.
If walking isn’t for you why not consider a new sport such as tennis, badminton or football? Many gyms also have New Year offers on memberships too, a great incentive to kick start your motivation!
There’s some great advice one the NHS One You website.
Hobbies and Learning
Learning a new skill or taking up a hobby can also provide a boost to your confidence and self-esteem as well as your wider mental wellbeing. You could cook up a healthy new recipe – good nutrition has a positive impact on mental wellbeing – or even sign up to a course at your local college. Learning new skills helps give you a sense of purpose and can even help you connect with others.
It’s important to feel connected and relationships are very important for our mental wellbeing. The Samaritans are turning today ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday’ and encouraging people to get together over a cuppa. Conversation can help us feel better and to manage life’s ups and downs, it also allows us to provide emotional support to one another and this is so important. Make sure if you can that you connect with friends and family on a regular basis.
However we know not everyone finds this easy or has someone to turn to. If you want to talk to someone independent and in confidence you can also call the Samaritans on freephone 116 123.
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This awareness, often known as ‘mindfulness’, includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more as well as helping you to understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
The Trust offers mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for people aged over 18 years, who have experienced repeated episodes of depression or are stressed by parenting or caring for someone with mental ill health or a learning disability. Further information and course dates can be found on the mindfulness pages of our website.
For useful tips on staying healthy, both mentally and physically, visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/ where there’s a host of information about making changes to support your physical and mental health. You can also visit the NHS website for further advice about mental health and wellbeing.
If you’re feeling stressed, a little low or anxious Talking Therapies, also known as Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, offer a range of psychological treatments that could help you. You can be referred to services via your GP and some also offer online self-referral. If you think you would benefit from their support either speak to your GP or view our IAPT web pages for more information about services in the TEWV area.
If a person’s mental or emotional state gets worse quickly this can be referred to as a mental health crisis or a mental health emergency, which often means that you no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation.
In a crisis situation it is important to get help quickly. Whether you experience a sudden deterioration of an existing mental health problem, or are experiencing problems for the first time, you’ll need immediate expert assessment to identify the best cause of action and stop you getting worse.
We’ve useful advice for dealing with mental health crisis on our website at www.tewv.nhs.uk/services/crisisadvice/