Why is Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year?

Blue Monday is a relatively new term which has been used to describe the third Monday in January as ‘the most depressing day of the year’. The reality is that many of us can feel down at this point in the year because our New Year resolutions have started to fail, we feel the financial pinch after the Christmas spending and generally we may feel the monotony of everyday life along with bad weather and dark nights.

Blue Monday - DepressionWhilst ‘Blue Monday’ may seem to trivialise depression and however gimmicky it may appear, it does help to highlight the importance of addressing depression and ensuring people get help for depression as soon as possible. A Priory study showed that somebody ‘Google’s’ depression every two seconds in the UK which further highlights the very real presence of depression for many people in Great Britain.

Dr Richard Bowskill, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital Brighton and Hove provides his thoughts on why this day may be considered the most depressing day of the year:

“After the excitement and busy schedules around a whirlwind festive holiday, poor weather conditions, post-Christmas bills, failed New Year’s resolutions and a lack of any big plans to look forward to can onset a feeling of depression.  It is certainly not uncommon for this time of the year. I recommend to anyone who may be feeling depressed around this time or at any particular point to bear the tips below in mind.”

So how can we identify if feeling ‘a bit down’ is turning into something more serious and frequent?

Top tips for helping to manage depression

1) Eat well – There is a strong link between an unhealthy diet and feeling tired and lacking in energy. Ensure to eat plenty of fruit vegetables and protein.  It’s best to avoid highly processed foods, sugar and caffeine.

2) Keep active – Regular exercise is proven to help maintain good mental health. Exercising makes us feel good about ourselves and produces endorphins which make us feel happy. Exercising also helps us to sleep better which is also essential for good mental health. 

Depression - Therapy3) Sleep – Good sleep is really important to keep yourself feeling well. Make sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour and allow yourself time to unwind and relax before trying to sleep. If you are having trouble getting to sleep try and read or listen to relaxing music. Avoid watching TV or using a tablet/mobile/laptop as this will just wake you up further.

4) Don’t rely on drink or drugs to relax or change your mood – Only you can help yourself by seeking the right support by talking to someone, by relying on alcohol or drugs it will only make things worse. 

5) Talk to someone – Although one in four adults will experience mental health issues, many still feel uncomfortable talking about it. If you are feeling depressed, and it is affecting your everyday life, try and talk to someone about how you feel. This could be a partner, friend, relative, colleague or professional such as a GP, therapist, counsellor or psychiatrist. Talking about how you feel will help you to identify what help and support you may need.

Learn more about the
Priory’s mental health services, including treatment for depression.

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