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Today, the third Monday of January, is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. In this blog, content developer Azmina gives some top tips for lifting your mood on Blue Monday.
What is Blue Monday?In 2005, a British travel company tried to entice people to book a holiday. They announced that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year. Apparently, Blue Monday was calculated by considering the cold weather, debt levels, the time that has passed since Christmas and the failure of our New Year’s resolutions.
How are you feeling today?Some people believe that Blue Monday is just a myth. Yet, many of us cannot help feeling a bit ‘blue’ now that the festivities are over, we may be struggling to pay off credit card bills and there is a lack of sunshine to boost our mood.
If you are living with cancer, you may feel sad, anxious or uncertain as you look to the year ahead. Your finances are likely to be even more tightly squeezed.
Five positive steps to take on Blue MondayMacmillan is here to help you find your best way through. There are also many positive steps that you can take to help yourself feel better on Blue Monday or any other day.
1. Take some gentle exercise – One of our supporters, Ronny, explains:
Physical activity encourages your brain to produce chemicals called endorphins, which improve your mood and reduce stress. You may worry that you are too tired, but even a little physical activity is better than none.
Aim to get some fresh air outdoors for at least ten minutes today. You could make the most of the natural daylight and go for a short walk. It can be hard not to worry about your cancer treatment, but try to appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and any physical sensations in your surroundings.
2. Eat healthy meals – Eating balanced, healthy meals will help you maintain or regain your strength, have more energy and improve your well-being. Why not try a scrumptious soup, mouth-watering main or delicious dessert from our free Recipes for people affected by cancer booklet?
While it can be tempting to have a drink or two when you feel a bit low, remember to follow sensible drinking guidelines.
3. Make time to unwind – Find some time for yourself today when you can fully relax. Do something that gives you a break, such as soaking in a bubble bath, listening to your favourite music, reading a good book or stroking a pet.
Simple breathing exercises can also make you feel calmer and happier. Close your eyes, place one hand on your stomach and follow the movement of breath in and out of your body.
4. Plan something enjoyable – On these cold, dark winter nights, it is important to stay motivated and look forward to something nice. Take a few moments today to plan an enjoyable activity into your diary. This could be meeting up with friends, starting a new hobby or perhaps even searching for a volunteering opportunity in your local area.
Our supporter, Lara, says:
5. Reach out for support – If you are feeling down or alone today or believe that nobody understands what you are going through, reach out and connect with other people. Pick up the phone to family or friends and do not feel afraid to ask them for support.
You can call our free, confidential Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Talking about your feelings and concerns can really help. We also have financial specialists on our Support Line, who can suggest practical ways of managing debt.
To share your cancer experiences with others in a similar position, join our online community at macmillan.org.uk/community.
Depression affects about 15% to 25% of people living with cancer. If your sense of sadness is overwhelming, consider booking an appointment with your doctor today. The first step in feeling better is to ask for help. Many effective treatments for depression are available and there is a good chance that your mood will improve.
For further tips on managing your emotions, please see our booklet How are you feeling? The emotional effects of cancer.
Happy Blue Monday everyone!
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The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
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