Blue Monday falls every third Monday is January and is considered the most depressing day of the year. The nights are dark, the weather is cold, and the bright lights of Christmas is a distant memory.

It’s no surprise many people find themselves feeling blue. However, it is essential that we recognise people living with mental illness are not contained by a date in the calendar.

In 2017, Hestia supported over 2,419 people with their mental health. Mind estimates that 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness every year and 1 in 6 of us will experience poor metal health in our lifetime.

We all have mental health and it is important take time and look after ourselves.

Steps to improve your mental health

Be honest

Be honest with yourself and the people around you. Often saying the world “help” can be terrifying but many people recognise that as a turning point in their recovery. Keep an emotions journal to record your daily mood and factors such as sleep, activities and any social activities. See if you spot any consistencies and patterns in your mood.

Get fresh air

Fresh air and gentle exercise can work wonders on your mental and physical health. The two can often link so it’s good to keep in check with your physical health, too. Check out local routes for different length walks (5, 10, 30, 45 and 60 min walks).

It’s good to talk

It is important to remember there are always people to call if you need to talk. Organisations such as Samaritans offer 24/7 advice for free 365 days of the year. Having someone who will listen and offer advice can lift a weight off your shoulders. Write a list of phone numbers to keep with you when you for times are challenging.

Establish a routine

In your journal, record when you go to bed and when you wake up. The average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours sleep. Your day will feel more structured and help you get into a routine. Your daily tasks can be broken into bite size chunks and it won’t feel like an overwhelming g to-do list. This can be as little as “have a shower” or “walk round the block”. When you complete each task draw a line through it and feel that sense of satisfaction.

Listen to your needs

Sometimes alone time is needed. Use this time to practice mindfulness, meditation or channelling energy into a creative project. It’s okay to express how your body feels. If it needs to rest, find a comfy spot, curl up and read a book. Time spent alone can be incredibly rewarding.

Keep going

Recovery is not linear. There will be ups and downs and it is important to allow yourself these slip ups. Recognise that the process of recovery itself is as (if not more) important than envisioning an end goal.

Believe in yourself!

Every person’s mental health is unique. Some of the points listed above might not work for you and that’s okay. You alone are the expert in your mental health and only you can know what is truly best for you.