4 Ways to look after your mental wellbeing during Blue Monday
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday was a calculation that claimed that a certain date in January was the most depressing day of the year.
Although Blue Monday itself isn’t truly a real phenomenon, poor mental wellbeing certainly does exist and there can be seasonal variations in our mental health. For example, some individuals can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), which usually becomes more intense in the lower light months like December or January.
What is good mental health?
Looking after our mental health isn’t just for when we’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed. It’s something we should always be investing in to keep ourselves well, just like with our physical health.
Here are 4 ways to look after your mental wellbeing:
1. Drink and eat responsibly
Eating and drinking the right way can have an immense effect on our mental state, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re consuming day in and day out.
An example of how you can improve your diet in a simple way is to avoid consuming too much caffeine as although it can make us feel more awake and active in the short term, its long-term effects usually aren’t worth it. Remember, caffeine stays in your system for several hours, with a half-life of around 5 hours, so try to avoid it when it’s getting close to bedtime to avoid having a restless night.
2. Stray Active
Staying active helps build routine, sticking to a new work out or gym membership can improve the structure in your life and give you goals to work towards. They don’t have to be big things either, another rep, another 5 minutes on your walk, an extra weight, it all adds up to increase that feeling of success and self-improvement.
The benefits don’t stop there as exercising consistently can also help improve your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep! Any excess weight lost can help reduce sleep apnoea as 60% of moderate to severe cases of sleep apnoea have been attributed to obesity, and a survey in 2013 discovered that 76-83% of respondents who engage in light, moderate, or vigorous exercise reported very good or fairly good sleep quality. Meanwhile, for those who do not exercise the figure dropped to 56%.
3. Find time for you
One of the easiest and best ways to take care of your mental wellbeing is to improve your work/life balance and make sure you have the time to do the things you enjoy. It’s important to take a step back sometimes and remember to find the time for hobbies, family, and personal time so that we can avoid burn out. Take that long warm bath, read the next chapter of that book, or maybe even write the next chapter of that book!
If you’re not sure about how to improve your work/life balance, consider if flexible working could be right for you. To learn more about flexible working and work/life balance, click here.
4. Talk about it
Sometimes it’s best for us to recognise when we aren’t feeling good, and to know when to ask for help. It can be difficult to ask someone for support but there’s no shame in talking about feeling low or stressed. Everyone has times where they aren’t mentally well, and if you feel as though you are dealing with burnout or anxiety that you can’t handle alone, know that you don’t have to. You can speak to friends or family, or if your mental wellbeing is effecting other parts of your life, it may be time to speak to your GP.