Written by Dr Andrew Tresidder, who has been a Somerset GP since 1989. He also co-presents the Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Podcast.
‘Blue Monday’ ; the third Monday of January; this year Monday 16 January, is said to be the ‘lowest’ day in the year for our feelings. The day feels far from the festive break, a long way till payday, the mornings are dark, and evening comes early.
The combination of winter darkness and bad weather can leave us feeling more gloomy than normal. Particularly since the impact of COVID-19 has seen many of us experience additional life stresses.
Many of us carry burdens and worries, work long hours, having caring responsibilities, run households and have bills to pay. A few of us may be in desperation or very sad. Many of us are lonely.
“Please know, you are not alone and there is support out there for you – no matter how you are feeling”.
If you feel persistent low mood over a period of weeks, or if you feel that life is not worth living and it’s not worth waking up, please seek help. No-one will judge you.
Help when you’re feeling down in Somerset
- Somerset Open Mental Health 01823 276892 or 0800 138 1692
- Contact your GP Practice and ask to speak to their mental health nurse
- Somerset Talking Therapies is available for self-referral
- Crisis Safe Space – Open Mental Health This is an out-of-hours service for anyone who feels like they are really struggling with their mental health. Instead of going to A&E, making an urgent doctor’s appointment, or suffering in silence, you can arrange a one-to-one session either face-to-face or virtually depending on the location.
- If you need to talk at any time 24/7 contact Mindline Somerset on 01823 276892 or freephone 0800 138 1692. Mindline Live Web Chat is available every day from 8pm-11pm or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for support
- If you are in crisis Somerset Foundation Trust have a range of services that can help Mental Health Crisis – Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (somersetft.nhs.uk)
- If you are feeling desperate including feeling suicidal, the Samaritans are available 24/7 phone 116123 or email email@example.com. You can find your nearest branch here
Top tips to help you prioritise your health and wellbeing
Take some time out today, or any day for that matter, to focus on you.
Talk to someone and stay connected, sometimes just talking and making contact with another person can make you feel much better. This can be a relative, a friend or a professional.
Try to organise a sleep routine, go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. Sleep is really important to your wellbeing.
Try to write down three positive things a day you have achieved. These do not need to be big as sometimes just posting a letter is an achievement.
Take a breath, breathe in for 7 seconds and out for 11 seconds, this will refocus you and give you space.
Time outside, even in the dark days of mid-winter, is so good for us Get outside, go for a walk or stand in your garden just take in some fresh air; ensure you see daylight once a day. If you can’t get outside even watching a nature programme helps us connect with the outside world
Set some small goals for your day that are achievable to give you a sense of purpose.
Eat regular and healthy meals to ensure your body is well fuelled.
Make sure with all the juggling of extra roles, that we no longer expect miracles of ourselves, we are trying to do more in abnormal circumstances, with often less support. On any given day, our best is good enough and our best will be different on different days; that’s okay, that is normal.
Discover mindfulness apps on your phone, they can provide really useful techniques.
There are lots of helpful mental health tips at Every Mind Matters here.
“Most importantly be kind to yourself, it’s okay not to be okay during these very difficult times”.
Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Podcast
The Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Podcast is hosted by Dr. Andrew Tresidder and Dr. Sarah Coop. To date there have been nearly a hundred podcasts. You can listen for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts & more.
In the most recent podcast we are joined by Christine Sullivan from the Samaritans to discuss why Christine decided to start working with the Samaritans during these difficult times, what help they can offer and how you can get involved and help other people too.