Feeling low? Be prepared for Blue Monday!

PUBLISHED: 10:19 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:47 15 June 2010

NEXT Monday (December 22) has been dubbed by charity Mind as Blue Monday .

NEXT Monday (December 22) has been dubbed by charity Mind as 'Blue Monday'.

Following the Winter Solstice and with the added stress of the countdown to Christmas, Mind expects many people to be feeling particularly low. To beat the blues, Mind employees and volunteers are taking a short walk on their lunchbreak, to make the most of the stress busting sunlight available and get some exercise which is proven to lift mood. They are urging local residents to do the same.

Nine out of ten people report that they eat and sleep more in winter and that long stretches of grey skies make them more down in the dumps (1). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year so when most people wake to start their week on Monday it will still be dark, with just 7 hours of daylight ahead.

Sunlight stimulates the part of the brain that controls mood and if we don't get enough it can make us feel miserable. Around 20 per cent of the population is thought to experience the winter blues and around 5 per cent are thought to experience the more severe form of winter depression known as seasonal affective disorder (2).

Plus, with Christmas just days away, Monday will also prove to be very stressful as people battle the crowds to buy last minute gifts and food, with financial worries and family woes playing on their mind.

To help boost mental wellbeing, Mind is encouraging [name of town] residents to get outside on their lunch break. A recent Mind study found that after a short country walk, 71% of people had decreased feelings of depression and 90% of people had increased self-esteem (3). Wrapping up warm and having a short brisk walk through a local park or just around the block will help people feel happier and revitalised.

Mind has a growing portfolio of research and projects advocating this natural treatment called ecotherapy. October saw the launch of Get Moving, England's first annual week of events to get communities having fun getting fitter together, tackling mental health discrimination (4). While in January, the first Ecominds funds will be allocated to eco-projects that involve people with experiences of mental distress (5).

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