With Mental Health issues affecting 1 in 4 people, completely avoiding mental health struggles may be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try and find ways to manage them. Blue Monday is the name given to the Monday that falls in the middle of January, often depicted as the most depressing day of the year. With many people being paid early in December and Winter weather taking its grip, January can be a difficult month for everyone. In this blog, we have detailed our tips and tricks to make it through, what feels like, the longest month of the year.
Exposure to the natural environment has been linked with a decrease in rumination and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Getting back to nature can also lead to improved physical health, being linked to a reduced risk of health issues such as heart disease, as well as increasing vitamin D levels, which help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Although getting outdoors doesn’t always mean physical activity, even just driving to a location, popping a camp chair out and reading can have a positive impact, typically getting out in nature leads to exercise such as walking, running, canoeing, etc, which can also have an incredibly positive effect on mental health.
Whilst struggling with mental health can lead to a reduced desire for physical activity, exercising can have an incredibly positive impact on your mood, as well as increasing energy levels. Pushing yourself to get up and take part in some light activity could be incredibly beneficial in helping you shake off the January blues, as well as improving your physical health. Physical activity doesn’t have to be incredibly taxing, just a simple walk or some low-impact weights can be a great way to get your body moving.
Don’t push yourself to meet unrealistic goals:
Many people choose to set themselves New Year resolutions, and with only 9% of these goals continuing until the end of January, often you are setting yourself up to fail. It can be beneficial in life to push yourself and try new things, but setting yourself unrealistic, strict goals can just leave you feeling deflated when you are unsuccessful. If you do want to make changes in your life, try and start small and work your way up. For example, set yourself a goal of drinking 1 more glass of water a day, or if you want to become more fit, set yourself the goal of going on a 10-minute walk every day. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to suddenly start doing 2-hour workouts 7 days a week or to go on an 8-mile hike every day, and with so much already going on at the start of the year, the best resolution you can set is to be kind to yourself and set aside time to prioritise the things that you enjoy.
Make the most of the daylight:
With some of the shortest days of the year falling in January (Northern Hemisphere), making the most of the small amount of daylight is a good way to boost your mental well-being. If you work in an office, try getting the blinds open and letting the natural light in. You may also wish to get out for a 10-minute stroll during your breaks. If you work in a hospital or factory, or some other place where there is a lack of natural lighting, spending days off in the outdoors can be a great way to increase your exposure to natural light.
Whilst feeling a bit down after the festive season is
incredibly normal, feeling unable to cope may mean you need some support. A
problem shared is a problem halved and there is always someone who wants to
help. If you need mental health support please seek advice or contact one of
the services below:
Call Samaritans on 116 123 (UK-wide)
Text SHOUT to 85258 (UK-wide)
Call C.A.L.L. on 0800 132 737 (Wales only)
Other Mental Health Resources: