Blue Monday Isn't Just One Day A Year And Here's Some Advice To Help
Every January there's a big fuss about 'Blue Monday'. It's dubbed the 'most depressing day of the year' and thought to be one of the hardest for our mental health.
The concept of 'Blue Monday' almost feels like we're allowed to feel a bit crap but as soon as the clock strikes midnight, we're 'better' and it's all over - Tuesday's here. But we all know that isn't the case at all.
Dr Evgenia Stefanopoulou, lead clinical psychologist for Rightsteps, knows what we all do - depression isn't just for one day of the year. However she has the expertise to advise us on the next steps we can take.
She says: "Depression is not about feeling a bit sad, low or fed up for a few days - which can be a common feature of everyday life.
"Depression can be an extremely debilitating mental health disorder, and although everyone is different, it is often described as feelings of hopelessness and a total disconnect from all feelings of happiness, which can last for weeks or even months.
"It is, therefore, not just a one day event, and what's more, there is no real evidence to suggest that short periods of feeling 'blue', or this one day in particular, can increase our risk of feeling depressed."
She went on: "There are certain things that may leave us feeling 'blue' at this time of year, such as post-Christmas financial strains, the cold weather outside and short daylight hours.
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"The Covid-19 outbreak has, understandably, been a difficult and stressful time for many of us. It is important that we try to draw strength from how we have coped so far and we remain kind to ourselves and to each other to help us look forward to brighter days ahead."
Some of Dr Evgenia's tips include:
- Looking (optimistically) to the future: Embracing optimism is not about seeing everything through 'rose-tinted glasses' or ignoring problems, stress or worries. It can help us to clearly see what is going wrong, so that we can try to turn it right.
- Set yourself achievable and realistic goals: While our new year's resolutions can feel great, they may often feel too difficult to stick to. Around this time of the year, they may already be dropped, or even forgotten.
- Remind yourself that setbacks are temporary: Life is never easy, but further challenges this new year may have contributed an additional toll. It is okay to acknowledge our feelings when we're discouraged, and talk about what's wrong. We could remind ourselves that these challenges will pass and ask for extra support, if needed.
- Accept, radically: It is often easy to feel 'stuck' when a problem arises and we feel like we have little or no control over it, at least in the short run. By fully accepting that this is the way things are right now, we can accept reality just as it is, rather than focusing on 'what should be', instead.
- Taking Stock: Writing down (or keeping a mental log of) the things we are grateful for on a daily basis can lower our stress levels and help us feel calmer. It can also offer us a better insight into what is really important and matters to us.
- Find Your Support System: Whether it's during the day or after work, spending some time talking to people who care about us, like family, friends and workmates, can be a great source of support. Opening up to others can help us to feel more motivated and lift our mood during stressful times.
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MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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