The third Monday of January has been dubbed Blue Monday due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the thud of unpaid Christmas credit card bills on the doormat. A mathematical formula was even used to precisely calculate the most depressing day of the year.
Supposedly the date was calculated using many factors, including: weather conditions (W), debt level (d: the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and feeling of a need to take action (Na).
Actually, the dubious-sounding ‘equation’ turned out to be a rather elaborate PR stunt by Sky Travel in 2005, hoping to encourage people to book a winter holiday in the sun!
But in reality, these short, dark days, coupled with overspending and general blues is a perfect storm for depression, especially in older people for whom health problems and lack of mobility often mean getting out and about at this time of year is much harder. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation – even depression. Older people are already more vulnerable to mental health problems and depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over.
But the cold weather and dark days needn’t be an excuse not to have fun – and here at Birchwood House we have plenty going on to keep the blues at bay, maintain energy levels and promote mental engagement and wellbeing. Our residents enjoy lively board games, art and craft activities as well as twice a month ‘Music For Health’ sessions, which can get especially noisy! And to boost our mood and promote self-care, especially vital at this gloomy time of year, we have weekly visits from a hairdresser and a chiropodist.
If you find the winter blues are affecting you, don’t be afraid to reach out for help or support – and don’t forget, the shortest day of the year is already behind us!
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