Blue Monday happens every year on the third Monday of January. It is supposedly the most depressing day of the entire year, based on a crude calculation of bad weather, long nights, back to work dread and post-Christmas debt.
It does sound very plausible perhaps because we so familiar with the term “January Blues” but Blue Monday is in fact, a myth!
The phrase “Blue Monday” was coined by Sky Travel back in 2005 as a way to encourage people to book their next holiday as something to look forward too. They highlighted all the seasonal negatives to reinforce the benefits of booking a holiday – a clever marketing trick.
But can we really pinpoint the most depressing day of the year?
There is no actual scientific studies that have ever backed up any claims about Blue Monday being true or that there could even be a “most depressing day of the year”. This does make sense because this would be different for each and every one of us based on personal circumstances and the variables are extensive. It did, however, get use thinking about our mood, mental health and overall wellbeing at this time of year.
January is cold, often wet and everyone is trying to shake off the Christmas comedown and get excited about the new year ahead, but the January blues can creep in.
Remember you are not alone, and many people experience a dip in mood this time of year but it is important to identify when the January blues are actually symptoms of depression.
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy, fed up or low for a few days. It can be long lasting and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Once accessed by a doctor, they will conclude the severity of your depression.
A simplified description follows:
Mild depression will have some impact on your daily life.
Moderate depression has a significant impact on your life.
Severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life.
Sometimes there’s a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or giving birth, can bring it on. Other times, it can be linked with family history; people with family members who have depression are more likely to experience it themselves. But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason. It is quite complex and each person is unique.
There are many symptoms of depression and the combination is unpredictable.
They can be categorised at physiological, physical and social symptoms.
Some examples of psychological symptoms of depression include:
- continuous low mood or sadness
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- having low self-esteem
- feeling tearful
- feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- having no motivation or interest in things
- finding it difficult to make decisions
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling anxious or worried
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
Some examples of physical symptoms of depression include:
- moving or speaking slower than usual
- changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
- unexplained aches and pains
- lack of energy
- low sex drive
- changes to your menstrual cycle
- disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
Some examples of social symptoms of depression include:
- avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
- neglecting your hobbies and interests
- having difficulties in your home, work or family life
The most common symptoms of depression tend to be a low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy, problems with sleep and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy but it can be any number of symptoms listed above.
It’s important to seek help from a GP if you think you may be depressed. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.
For more information on GP services at Fleet Street Clinic, click here.
Mental Health Awareness Week: What Is Stress?
Look around your office, do you know if anyone is struggling?
You may think those around you – fellow colleagues or your staff – are completely fine. But mental health affects us all and problems in the workplace are actually very common.
According to mental health charity Mind, at least one in six workers are experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Nowadays, there is increasing recognition of stress and mental health problems, both within the workplace and in everyday life. Currently, following Stress Awareness Month in April, we are approaching Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from 13-19th May.
We thought it might be helpful to focus on some positive strategies to help, in terms of stress management and resilience. Whilst being particularly useful and relevant within the workplace, these can all be used in everyday life as well.
WHAT IS STRESS?
In its purest form, stress is the body’s reaction to something it perceives as dangerous or threatening. When we feel under attack, our bodies respond by producing a mixture of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These prepare us for physical action by diverting blood away from our core and into our limbs. It also temporarily shuts down some less vital bodily functions such as digestion.
For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health, by helping you cope with potentially serious situations.
Yet if your stress response continues, and stress levels stay elevated far longer than necessary, it can take a toll on your health.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TACKLE STRESS?
Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms, contribute to many health problems (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, anxiety and depression) and affect your overall well-being.
Reducing stress can help prevent these harmful effects on both mind and body.
Looking after yourself and ensuring you have good mental health has many benefits – not just for you as an individual, but for the business too. Employees are generally more productive, passionate and motivated when in good health. Even if they’re experiencing mental health problems, knowing they are supported by their employer can help in the recovery process.
STRESS PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN STRESS MANAGEMENT
Ultimately, the best way to manage stress is through prevention rather than cure.
Research shows that those who are better informed about the practical ways in which they can lower their stress levels are far better able to tackle difficult situations with emotional resilience and determination.
Within the workplace, employers are encouraged to make promoting the wellbeing of their employees a core element of the company’s internal operations. Some examples of a proactive approach to stress-management might be:
- To invite people to take active breaks away from their desks
- Offering lunchtime yoga classes or mindfulness sessions
- Group walks in the fresh air.
So what can help you reduce stress? Continue reading our stress, with Our Top Tips For Reducing Stress.
If you are interested in how Fleet Street Clinic can assist your workplace with stress management and resilience training, get in touch. Or if you are an individual who needs help with stress management, you can book a GP appointment online.
If you are feeling sad at the start of the year, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Although it comes around every year, we always seem to be caught off-guard by what has now commonly become known as “The January Blues”.
The January blues is another name for situational depression and is associated with the way we think and feel. Around this time of year, the weather is cold and gloomy, the days are shorter and the nights are longer, plus you may be experiencing post-Christmas exhaustion, debt and perhaps even dread going back to work.
Symptoms of the January blues are things such as low mood and sadness, lack of motivation, tiredness and low energy. These are all normal feelings, if temporary.
Most likely, your negative mood will be brought on by the anticlimax of reality after the exciting events of December & the New Year. Ever heard that old phrase, “don’t cry because it has ended, but smile because it happened”? Find comfort in knowing that you are absolutely not alone in feeling blue in January. In fact, many people in the UK feel especially down in January but the good news is that the January Blues are temporary and typically only last a couple of weeks. You don’t need to take any medication as your thoughts and feelings should naturally return to normal.
If it doesn’t and you are experiencing prolonged or worsening thoughts and feelings, you may actually have Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which is different. SAD is clinical depression caused by a person’s biology. It is much longer-lasting, sometimes months on end and likely to occur every year in winter. You should see a doctor to discuss your symptoms as if you have SAD, a range of treatments are available to assist recovery. More information on SAD can be found here.
Remember, please be kind to yourself and know that you’re not alone.
For more information on our GP Services.
To book a GP appointment online, click here.
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a Mental Health problem.
Unfortunately, how we cope with mental health problems, in general, seems to be getting worse.
Leading to an increased number of self-harm and suicide victims. Spotting early warning signs in the workplace and helping those who may be experiencing workplace problems is an extremely important part in reducing the number of deaths by mental ill health each year.
Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society. At Fleet Street Clinic, we believe in creating safe, healthy workplaces where mental health and physical health of employees are valued equally. Therefore, we believe that investing in mental health first aid training, much like physical first aid training should be part of everyone’s corporate wellbeing strategy.
The Fleet Street Clinic will be running a two-day Mental Health First Aid course delivered by Leigh Mckay. This course is designed for all employees, line managers, HR professionals, OH workers and senior leaders alike who wish to become a qualified mental health first aider. By training your staff you’ll be joining a global movement of over 3 million trained Mental Health First Aiders across 25 countries.
Leigh is a quality assured MHFA instructor accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health. She has a particular interest in psychology and emotional resilience. Leigh has a wealth of experience in delivering the MHFA courses in corporate companies. Plus, she advocates that a workplace and community that promotes wellbeing can have a positive impact on everyone’s physical, mental and emotional health.
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an Internationally-recognised training course. It teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health. MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, however, just like physical first aid training, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis.
A quality assured instructor will deliver the adult MHFA courses, which are for everyone aged 16 upwards. All instructors attend an Instructor Training programme accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health. Therefore, they are specifically trained to keep people safe and supported whilst they study this course.
What will I learn?
Learning will take place through a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions. Throughout the course, you will gain practical skills and awareness about mental health.
- A deeper understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect people’s wellbeing, including your own
- Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
- Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
- Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
- Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to appropriate support
How will attending an MHFA course help?
There are many benefits to taking part in an MHFA course. Firstly, research and evaluation have shown this course raises awareness of mental health literacy. The more understanding and knowledge about mental disorders lead to better recognition, management and prevention. Secondly, this reduces the stigma attached to ill mental health, especially in the workplace. Further, this course champions its students to increase their confidence in handling mental health issues. But, most importantly, it promotes early intervention. Above all, becoming a Mental Health First Aider can enable the recovery of a sufferer and even save lives.
Date: Thursday 26th & Friday 27th September, 2019
Location: 29 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA
Cost: £350 per person
Spaces are limited.
To book yourself and/or a colleague on to the Mental Health First Aid course, please email to our Corporate Manager, Caroline McKenzie here.