The third Monday of every January is ‘Blue Monday’ – ‘the most depressing day of the year’.
Some believe Blue Monday is a myth and PR stunt designed to encourage people to book a holiday on this day. Whereas others believe Blue Monday is truly the most depressing day of the year due to the combination of cold weather, early dark nights and people feeling the consequences of overspending at Christmas time and now not being able to afford to go out and buy nice things.
Whether you believe Blue Monday is genuine or not, it’s true that January can be a really tough month for lots of people and especially after almost a year of Covid-19 in the UK, many people are feeling really low and struggling mentally at this time.
If you’re struggling this Blue Monday and you’re not sure what to do, then here are some ideas of things you can do to help make yourself feel healthy, happy and positive today …
Talk to friends and family
When we’re feeling down already it’s so tempting to just lock ourselves away and mope about feeling sorry for ourselves, but the chances are that we are not alone in feeling this way and our friends and family will have some good advice and positive words for us. Not seeing or speaking to anybody else for a whole day can make us feel isolated and alone, so it’s important to keep talking to one another and also reach out to those who you think may be struggling in silence. It’s ok not to feel ok, but remember that there are lots of people who love and care about you and want to help you.
If you’re stuck indoors all day tackling uni work or revising, make sure to wrap up warm and cozy. A soft jumper, hot drink and a heated blanket will make you feel toasty and snug, and although it might tempt you to have a netflix day instead of get your work done, at least you won’t be shivery and cold indoors!
A healthy diet equals a healthy mind. Not eating proper meals, snacking on junk food, or eating too much or too little is not good for our energy levels and can put us in a miserable mood that makes us feel lazy and unmotivated. Eating fresh and healthy food however is good for the body and brain and gives us energy to go out and have a good day! If you’re not a confident cook, then fear not, our Food and Drink editor has you covered here.
Sleep and rest
If you’re feeling tired and drained, take a rest day and try not to feel guilty about it. Rest days improve our productivity as they allow our brain a break so it’s better and more productive the next day. Forcing ourselves to work when we feel tired and drained is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s recommended that the average 20 year-old needs between 7 and 9 hours every night, as being physically tired can lead to emotional exhaustion, anxiety and sadness. Getting a good night’s sleep will improve our mood and help us feel healthier and happier – you can find some tips on how to have a better night’s sleep here.
Going outdoors and breathing in fresh air is proven to help you sleep better at night, makes you less likely to get sick, improves your focus and motivation, keeps you active and also makes you feel more secure and confident. Just by getting outside for a few minutes, your head will feel clearer and calmer. It can be difficult to motivate ourselves to go out in the dark to exercise or walk, so it’s also a good idea to try to get outside during the daylight hours if you can. If you’re not sure where to walk in Bangor, there are some suggestions of places you can go here.
Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, exercise has many benefits on our mental health as well as our physical health. Exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety, depression and low mood, and increases our cognitive function, self-confidence and generally makes us feel happier. You don’t need to leave the house to do your daily exercise either – here are some of my favourite Youtube workouts which you can do at home.
You don’t have to splash the cash on lavish items to make yourself feel good, but sometimes little treats and pick-me-ups can make the world of difference to how we’re feeling. Maybe it’s a takeaway coffee to drink on your daily walk, or a new lip gloss the next time you pop into town – make sure to allow some space in your weekly budget to treat yourself on some self-care essentials.
Reach out for help
If you’re struggling with your mental health today and you’re not sure what to do, please remember that you’re not alone and there is a lot of support out there for you. If you’re not sure where to start in accessing help, there is a list of helplines and websites here.
There is also lots of help and advice available at the University. Bangor University Mental Health Advisers provide information about mental health issues and signpost you to the services and support available, and can give you practical advice on how to make university life more manageable, and also work with other university departments so you can receive the support. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Bangor University Counselling Service provides self-help materials, workshops, lectures, group support sessions, and individual counselling sessions to students. To get information, support, or to book a counselling session, please email email@example.com