So you may have heard that today is ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. And it isn’t hard to see why. Christmas is a distant memory, our New Year’s Resolutions have fallen flat, the weather is rubbish and we are feeling post-festive purse strings pinch until the next payday.
Local suicide prevention and mental health awareness charity Hector’s House are sharing their top tips on how to survive the winter blues this Monday – and how to keep an eye on your mental health over the winter months.
What is Blue Monday?
‘Blue Monday’ – typically the third Monday in January – is said to be the most depressing day of the year. However, did you know this was a very clever PR campaign by a travel agent selling holidays in 2005?
The truth is, depression and low moods can hit us at any time of the year. And with 1 in 6 adults in the UK currently suffering with a mental health problem, this is clearly an issue that is bigger than just one ‘depressing’ day.
Tips to help beat the winter blues
These cold, dark (and expensive) winter months are often a cause of low mental health, so here are our five top tips on managing your winter wellbeing:
- Get outside in the daylight hours – it’s tough going to school or work in the dark, and arriving home when it’s dark too. Try to get outside in the daylight hours, take a walk in your lunch break, even if it’s raining. Take note of the small signs of Spring – the snowdrops and bulbs starting to pop up. Know that this gloomier season will soon be over.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – these cold days mean we can be reaching for those hearty comfort foods, but be sure to include plenty of varied fruit and vegetables in your diet, too.
- Get a daily dose of Vitamin D – Vitamin D has a huge impact on how our brain and body function. Over 1 billion people in the world are deficient in this vital vitamin; the NHS recommends taking a supplement, during the winter months.
- Talk to someone – it’s very easy to go into hibernation mode. Schedule in some time to meet up with a friend and let them know how you’re feeling, talking really does help.
- Seek help – if you feel like it’s a bit too much, and you’re struggling to cope, know that you are not alone and you do not have to battle in silence. Please seek help and visit your GP, or contact one of the helplines below.
Hector’s House Crisis Text Line: Hector’s House has a free text service for anyone in a mental health crisis. Please, if you are feeling like it is all too much, text HECTOR to 85258 to speak to us. You are never alone.
Samaritans: Call 116 123. Samaritans are on hand 24/7 to talk to you. This is not just a crisis helpline – they are there to talk through any low moods, anxiety or feelings you may be having. They’re truly wonderful and will be there to help you at any time of day.
Childline: Childline is on hand to help anyone under 19 in the UK. Call 0800 1111 or contact them online. It’s free to use and completely confidential.
Hector’s House is a Hertfordshire-based charity, set up by the Stringer family in memory of their 18-year-old son Hector who took his own life in 2011.
This crucial organisation aims to stop suicide through education, awareness and support. More information can be found at www.hectorshouse.org.uk.