By Herald on January 18, 2021.
Fighting the winter blahs on Blue Monday means seeking out support, and connecting with friends and family, says registered psychologist and University of Lethbridge counsellor Carly Sharpe.
“People are social animals, and we have to connect with others,” she says, “and I know it is really hard in a pandemic right now. So being creative with it. I know everyone is tired of Zoom, tired of being on the phone, but still trying to do that so you can connect.”
Blue Monday is generally regarded as the most depressing day of the year, and is marked on the third Monday of January.
The combination of Christmas expenses coming due, being in the heart of winter weather, and the acquiring of excess pounds over the holiday break pushes our stresses far beyond the ordinary already, and this year COVID-19 has presented additional challenges, says Sharpe.
The key, she says, is not to think of the number of stresses heaped upon you, but rather to try to deal with them one at a time. By making a plan, she says, you can begin to feel like you have some control over the situation instead of being controlled by it. But it is also important, she explains, to just take a moment to breathe.
“One of the biggest things I talk to people about is to just breathe,” Sharpe states.
“We can’t tackle it all at once; so when we feel we are overwhelmed, and things are heaped on us, it is really is for our fight of flight (instincts) to be activated in our brain, and we can get really anxious. So trying to do some breathing, and calm down our systems, and calm down our brains can help make it feel more manageable.”
Sharpe also recommends people feeling stressed get outside for some fresh air whenever possible, take some planned me time in the day to do something you really like, and, of course, seek out additional counselling and support where necessary.
“Instead of keeping it in, by slowing it down and telling someone, or even writing it out, can be super helpful,” Sharpe states.
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