YOU ARE NOT ALONE: Simple tips to boost your mood on 'Blue Monday'

You can take simple steps to feel happier, according to Julie Westrupp.

You can take simple steps to feel happier, according to Julie Westrupp.

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A Derbyshire clinician has urged residents to take simple steps to improve their mood on so-called Blue Monday.

Today is apparently the most miserable day of the year for countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

Depression and mental illness take a terrible toll. They rob people of their happiness and, too often, their lives. One in four people are likely to suffer from mental health problems but sadly there is still a stigma around these illnesses which stops people talking about them  and getting the help they need. Thats why we have launched a special campaign which aims to raise awareness of the issue, highlight what support is available to help people and let those who are struggling know that you are not alone...

Depression and mental illness take a terrible toll. They rob people of their happiness and, too often, their lives. One in four people are likely to suffer from mental health problems but sadly there is still a stigma around these illnesses which stops people talking about them  and getting the help they need. Thats why we have launched a special campaign which aims to raise awareness of the issue, highlight what support is available to help people and let those who are struggling know that you are not alone...

It's supposedly such a bad day for a number of reasons, including poor weather, debt problems, low motivation and abandoned New Year resolutions.

Julie Westrupp, a cognitive behavioural therapist for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "If you've got the blues and are feeling a bit down at this time of the year, there are some simple things you can do to feel happier.

"Wrap up warm and go for a walk. Exercise, such as walking, can play a major role in your overall mood as it helps to boost feel‐good chemicals in the brain.

"Make sure you're getting enough sleep and make sure you're eating properly.

"Do things you enjoy - that may be reading a book, listening to music, watching a film.

"Make time to see a friend.

"And plan things you can look forward to. At this time of year, after all the Christmas and New Year festivities, it can feel like the good times are in short supply - but make fun and exciting plans for the future."

Some organisations, including the mental health charity Mind, believe so-called Blue Monday is 'dangerously misleading'.

Mind's website states: "The concept has no foundation in scientific research. Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren't dictated by the date."

Julie said: "Personally I think anything that gets people talking about their feelings and mental health is a good thing.

"One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

"It's important we shine a light on this issue and help end the stigma surrounding mental health."

According to Julie, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust usually sees a spike in referrals to help people suffering from depression during January and February.

She said: "There is definitely a difference between depression and feeling the blues.

"If you've been feeling depressed for more than two weeks or your anxiety is affecting your daily life, make an appointment to speak to your GP.

"There is lots of help out there - you really don't need to suffer in silence."

Helplines

The Samaritans provides a free, confidential listening service all day, every day, all year. Whatever you’re going through, you can call the helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Visit www.samaritans.org.uk for details about the Samaritans. Mind offers information and advice to people suffering from mental health problems. Call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email info@mind.org.uk. Visit www.mind.org.uk for more information about Mind.