Blue Monday

January has been a difficult month for me, personally. As someone who already suffers with Seasonal Affective Disorder, adding leaving your job and difficult medical appointments to the mix, then you have the recipe for a rather depressed Kate. Dealing with my mood is something I'm still learning how to handle, but, I'm trying to build resources I can tap into when I'm struggling, and what a better day to share some of these than on 'Blue Monday'. 

My go-to 'cheer up' place; Starbucks (with a Chai Latte)

Whether it's friends, family or helplines, one of the most important things is to talk about how you feel. With mental health resources increasingly stretched, referrals can take (what I personally think) an unacceptable amount of time so self-help is often the only route to go down. Samaritans, without a doubt, is a helpline which is recommended to many, but you can contact your local Crisis team who can asses you over the phone or at home. There's also an increasing amount of local support groups, so have a look online and see if there's something in your area which might be beneficial.

When your mood dips, all you want to do is crawl into bed and eat, I know. But, trying to keep some sort of routine is really important in maintaining a little bit of normality. For me, this means eating, showering & getting dressed when possible, then spending time with my family downstairs on an evening so I'm not always by myself in my bedroom. For you, it could be going on a walk each day or putting on your make-up, it's completely tailorable to what you can manage and your usual routine.

It feels like the last thing you want to do, but keeping in touch with the world is important during this time, even if it's just with a few people in small amounts. Whether you text, spend some time online or make it out to a cafe, this can really help reduce feelings of isolation.

You hear it all the time, self-care is important. It can be a whole range of different things, from taking some time out to do some mindful breathing to having a relaxing bath. Find what's right for you, what makes you relax, and try implement it in your daily routine.

A one not many people put on their lists, but I find contact from clothing, blankets & animals extremely beneficial. Wrapping myself up in a 'teddy bear' feel snuggly blanket then putting a weighted blanket over the top helps decrease my anxiety. I also find that when I'm not well, having comfy clothes on (my large onesie) I feel more relaxed. I have an assistance dog and I hug him multiple times a day; he also lays across my lap. This contact from him, and stroking him, really helps my mood too. So, I thoroughly recommend soft clothes, weighted blankets & pet therapy!

I hope these tips can be useful to someone going through a bumpy spell. Remember, January is a hard month and please reach out if you need help. Sending love to you all!

Kate x

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