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January Blues

(This is a re-write of a blog written in 2020)

2 years I wrote a blog post about Blue Monday, the 3rd Monday of January and supposably the most depressing day of the year – this year it was Monday the 16th. In that blog I wrote about how a university professor precisely calculated when this day was by using a formula that included looking at the weather, the time since Christmas, how new years resolutions were going (how are yours going by the way?), the time that people’s motivation levels are supposedly at the lowest, debt level and numerous other factors. However Wikipedia (obviously a valued and trusted source of information!!!???) says it was introduced by a travel company. Whatever you believe this time of year is a difficult one, large bills, rubbish weather and dark nights and I don’t think we need to particularly pinpoint one day that is the worst, maybe it’s more about recognising that this time or year, right now, is a tough one then looking at how you can manage that.

So how are you looking after yourself and your mental well-being right now? I wonder if, when things get tough, or things feel hard, it might be ok to bring things back to basics, eat well, sleep well and do some exercise, bringing things back in when you feel a little better. Yes this is easy to say and hard to do when there are so many pressures on life, is it not worth it to make sure you are ok though? Personally, I like to get out and about walking my dog, spend time with my family, crochet, read, watch films and try and go to the gym. I find this combination of activity and relaxation works well for me, what about you?

Some other things I have suggested in the past that may help include;

- Having something to look forward to – plan a big night out, a meal or a holiday (oh now I wonder why a holiday company came up with the concept of blue Monday in the first place??).

- Declutter – blitz a room in your home, or all the rooms.

- Sleep – get yourself into a better sleep routine, eliminate blue light and distractions in your bedroom, go to bed a bit earlier if needs be.

- Have a go at some meditation/mindfulness – there are loads of good apps out there to do this, I always recommend Headspace and Calm to my clients.

- Self-care – invest in you, set aside some time every day/week to do something for you, that you enjoy.

- Spend time with friends and family

- Draw up an action plan – this can be a plan to sort out those dreaded bills or to get back on track with your resolutions.

- Be kind to yourself, it is ok to feel low at times – you are doing the best you can with what you have.

- Eat well – ear a balanced diet (but allow yourself some cheat’s now and then)

- Engage in some gentle exercise, something that you like doing, better if its outside but indoors is good too.

- Do some random acts of kindness – doing something nice for others or helping them has actually been proven to help benefit your own well-being.

How would it be to make a list of your own and then commit to doing one, if not more, a day? You can’t change the weather, the patterns of the sun, the economy etc. BUT what you can do is change how you relate to those things and how you look after you in all of this.

Doing things like this can really help with feeling low anytime of the year but it is important to remember that these things are not the be all and end all. It can really help to talk with someone, a friend, family member or someone impartial, like a counsellor, to really look at what is going on for you and what the root cause is of this feeling. If the low feelings are really bad and last a while it may even be worth talking to your GP about it.

Look after yourself!

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