‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but seasonal mental health struggles often are

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but seasonal mental health struggles often are image

Home » ‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but seasonal mental health struggles often are

You don’t have to be taken in by the hype of ‘Blue Monday’ but, for many people, the winter can be a difficult time of year.  Dark mornings and long, gloomy evenings can make us feel down and in need of a boost.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.  SAD is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.

Common symptoms include:

  • persistent low mood;
  • loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities;
  • irritability;
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness;
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day;
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning;
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • decreased sex drive.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, chief medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“The day branded ‘Blue Monday’ was supposedly made up around 20 years ago by a travel company as a marketing gimmick, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that you’re standing out from the crowd if you don’t join the rest of the country and feel miserable.

“But if you do feel that winter makes you struggle to cope, help is available.  In the first instance you might want to look at some of the excellent apps which are available: ShinyMind was piloted in our local area, while Headspace is also very popular.

“Although, ultimately, treatment may include antidepressants or talking therapies, some people find that using a special sort of lamp can reduce or even eliminate their symptoms.  Whatever works for you is a valid solution.”

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