Blue Monday
18 January 2015

This Monday, 19th January has been dubbed "Blue Monday", in recognition of the fact that it is, for many, the "most depressing" day of the year. A few weeks after Christmas, the fun over, and for some the weight of post-Christmas debt on their shoulders, combines with the well recognised phenomenon of winter blues to leave many feeling more than a bit fed-up. The other key factor here is also the realisation by many people, that those new year resolutions they made, to lose weight, get fitter and drink less, have already been broken. Research shows that most people starting a "diet" have given up within a couple of weeks. And that early disappointment only serves to make them feel worse than they did before they started. 

I see lots of people in my Surgery who are struggling to cope with low mood and depression. And while medication is available, and which is safe and effective, there's still an awful lot we can do to banish the blues without restring to prescription drugs. I'm afraid the oldies are still the goodies. A balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, regular vigorous exercise, and less alcohol have all been shown in clinical studies to raise our mood, and help fight depression. My biggest challenge is to persuade my patients that these simple steps really do help, and then, when they start, help them realise it's about long term habit change, taking each day at a time, keeping their sights on the long term. 

Getting the balance right between food, body and mind has always been the cornerstone of good health. So this Blue Monday, don't let it get the better of you. Take back control of your life, make a simple plan about what steps you are going to take to regain balance in your life, your health, and your future.