Beat the January blues with three helpful tips from AWARE
Christmas is over and so is the excitement that comes with it. The decorations are down and we are back to school or work. It is cold, dark and miserable outside, the cost of Christmas is mounting, and many of us have spent the last few weeks overindulging in luxurious foods which can make us feel sluggish and tired. It is little wonder that we may begin to experience ‘the January blues.’
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to boost your mood and help make yourself feel better. AWARE has created the following three steps for you to follow to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Exercise is one of the best ways to fight depression and boost your mood. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or fork out a lot of money on exercise classes – a brisk walk in the fresh air is perfect. Finding the energy to motivate yourself may be difficult, but you will feel a big difference after you exercise. Taking on a new challenge and setting yourself a goal might be a good idea. Perhaps you could start walking and aim to complete the 8 mile walk as part of the Belfast Marathon in May 2019 and help raise money for AWARE? Information on how to register can be found here -
When we are feeling down, we sometimes crave fatty and sugary foods. These foods may give an instant energy boost but could make you feel worse as their effect wears off. These foods also suppress our mood and can exacerbate symptoms of Depression so try to avoid them. Next time you feel hungry, instead of reaching for the biscuit bin, reach for the fruit bowl and aim to incorporate between 5 – 10 pieces of fruit and vegetables each day. You could also add pulses such as nuts into your diet to snack on. These foods are all known to help boost your mood and improve your overall mental wellbeing. Making sure you are drinking plenty of water is also important.
Depression symptoms often go unrecognised but if you have any of the following symptoms and they last for more than 2 weeks you should seek help immediately.
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Tearful and emotional
Depression can affect anyone at any stage in their life, and the important thing to remember is that help is available. AWARE offer Support Groups throughout Northern Ireland that meet on a weekly and fortnightly basis with no appointment needed. The groups are completely free of charge and open to anyone living with depression. For more information, visit https://www.aware-ni.org/how-we-can-help-you/information-about-our-support-groups
AWARE also offer ‘Living Life to the Full’ - a six week programme based on the principals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is a programme which can help you manage your feelings when you are stressed, worried or depressed and learn simple practical skills to help you cope with life’s challenges. This is a free programme with courses currently available throughout Northern Ireland – for more information visit https://www.aware-ni.org/wellbeing-programmes/living-life-to-the-full
Brighten up Blue Monday
‘Blue Monday’ is known to be the most depressing day of the year and this occurs on Monday 21 January 2019. At AWARE, we are aiming to ‘Brighten up Blue Monday’ by encouraging people to wear something bright or something blue into their school or workplace in a bid to cheer themselves and their colleagues up. Each person will then donate £2 to AWARE, you can do this by donating online using the AWARE website.