“Blue Monday” is called the “Most Depressing Day of the Year.” It’s also a global day to call attention the dangers of depression and the toll it takes on our lives at work, as well as the costs to our economy. If you’re coping with depression you’ll needs these tips. This year Blue Monday falls on January 15, 2024.
Why This Day?
“Blue Monday” was created by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher at University of Cardiff’s Center for Lifelong Learning. He devised a formula that uses a variety of emotional and stress factors to proclaim the most depressing day of the year.
- Light. Low light levels and bad weather combine to create Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Bills Due. Holiday bills are hitting the mailbox and debt becomes more apparent.
- Resolutions. Many New Year’s resolutions are already broken.
- No Hope. People have low motivational levels and feel a need to take action.
Dangers of Depression
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US and is the second leading cause of disability worldwide (stroke is number one). Coping with depression takes a tremendous toll on our mental and physical health, our relationships, and our economy.
Depression is expensive to treat and costs $125 billion in lost productivity. Studies show 80 percent of people with depression are impaired every day of their lives. There are many dangers of depression. It also increases your risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, and certain cancers.
Some people struggle with saying, “I need help with depression.” Many people do not get help and their families don’t support them because of healthcare costs and the stigma associated with depression. “Blue Monday” is an opportunity to open the discussion about depression and its destruction of our global society.
If you or someone you love is coping with depression please go to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. There are many effective treatments for depression including implants, mindfulness practices, and emerging drug treatment.
Tips For The Winter Blues
Prepare a Plan
Refuse to let it happen to you! Don’t take this lying down. Come up with fun solutions such as showering with peppermint soap. For breakfast, eat protein and grains to sustain energy. Eat lunch with a friend. Eat fish and foods with vitamin B6. Snack on blueberries at your desk. Go for a walk three times a day: once at morning, another at lunch, and after dinner. Lastly, listen to music or go out to a fun dinner with your family or friends.
If you’re coping with depression, research suggests shedding light on yourself with a light therapy box. It’s one of the most effective treatments for SAD. Light therapy artificially replaces the sunlight hours lost during the shorter days of winter. There are many options, so check with your doctor to find the right light for you.
Walk it Off
Do not underestimate the effectiveness of exercise. Take a daily walk around the block, around the office, or up and down the stairs. Start a buddy system with a close friend. Hold each other accountable to get out of bed. Studies show exercise produces endorphins that improve your mood.
Eat Mood Food
Food is medicine and it’s perfect for coping with depression. Eating breakfast sets your metabolism and regulates your mood for the day. Eat foods rich in Omega 3’s (one to three grams a day) to reduce depression, but check with your doctor first. Keep vitamin B6-rich foods (bananas or turkey) around to help the body produce serotonin, which can decrease in the winter. Grab a banana, eat a turkey or tuna sandwich or munch on some sunflower seeds.
Chase it Away
Practicing renewal rituals during your day can help chase the gloom away. Do a “5 Minute Renewal Ritual” to renew your mind and body. Try a few yoga stretches in your chair at work. Go online and do a short meditation to grow your brain. Go online and play a quick word game to build some neurons. Listen to your favorite music to increase your serotonin production. Or email a friend you love to produce oxytocin.