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‘Every day self-care’: NB experts give ways to beat ‘Blue Monday’

Feeling down? Could be because it’s Blue Monday
WATCH ABOVE: The third Monday in January is often touted as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. As Global’s Adrienne South reports, there are a few simple things you can do to boost your mood until the warm weather returns.

The third Monday of January has become known as “Blue Monday,” based on the idea that it’s the most depressing day of the year, but both a New Brunswick social worker and a financial expert say there are ways to beat the “blues.”

READ MORE: 5 ways to beat the winter blues and stay happy beyond ‘Blue Monday’

Whether it’s cold, dreary weather, holiday credit card bills coming in, flu season, or the realization that it’s proving more difficult than expected to keep up with new year’s resolutions – there are many reasons New Brunswickers may be feeling “Blue” this January.

Northside Counselling Services clinical social worker Vicki Coy said January and February are the “busiest months” at the centre and that their caseload often doubles this time of the year.

“Definitely in my line of work we all talk about January being a stressful month,” Coy said.

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She said people are starting to realize how much money they spent over Christmas and many family issues have come to light.

“People tend to hold it together for Christmas, [but] by the time they get to January they’ve made decisions about maybe their relationship, maybe they’ve made decisions about relationships with their parents or extended family,” Coy said.

READ MORE: Blue Monday: How a PR stunt created the ‘most depressing’ day of the year

Coy said she doesn’t usually encourage people to set New Year’s resolutions because they’re hard to follow-through with – which can create additional stress in the new year.

“I think if people are just able to recognize that we already have a lot of normal stressors in our lives [and ask ourselves] ‘what are we doing to cope with them?’ That might take the sting [out] of January and the ‘Blue Monday’ and the winter blues,” Coy said.

Get sleep, slow down, get outside

She said it’s important to focus on “every day self-care.” Coy said she tries to advise clients that they make sure they are getting enough sleep, spending time outside, and taking time to unwind by listening to some music and taking a break from being on social media.

“Make sure that during the day when you’re at work you’re taking your coffee break, and taking your lunch break and not multitasking,” Coy said.

She said people need to “slow down” and focus on one thing at a time.

READ MORE: Breakfast Buzz: Are you feeling the winter blues?

Frederictonian Chance Sullivan told Global News he lives with seasonal depression.  He said getting outside and getting active helps him feel better.

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“I don’t like being stuck in my house, being cooped-up all the time, and what not and if it’s snowing all the time or if it’s raining or what not, it really affects my mood. So being able to be out helps me out big time,” Sullivan said.

Coy said spending a few minutes sitting outside is helpful, and says even and just getting a couple of breaths or fresh air can help lift your mood.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Grant Thornton licensed insolvency trustee Larry Crandall said credit card bills can be stressful, but says people should avoid comparing their life to others people’s lives.

“When we see people on Facebook or other social media, we see the best side of them, of their family, one thing we don’t see are the credit card statements that go with that. All we see is the new car. We see the new vacation,” Crandall said.

READ MORE: What to try if you’re feeling blue on ‘Blue Monday’

He said people shouldn’t feel depressed about debt and should know they aren’t alone.

“If you’re feeling bad about spending too much money over the holidays, now’s a great time to look at your budget, sit down with your spouse or other loved ones [and] go through your budget,” Crandall said.