TODAY is Blue Monday, which is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. I didn’t know much about Blue Monday until I looked it up this morning, but apparently it started in 2005 when a PR company employed a psychologist to calculate the most depressing day of the year. They were considering things like the weather, darkness, time since Christmas, levels of debt, failed resolutions, and that feeling of a need to make a change.
It’s been raining for most of the day so I can understand that it looks a bit bleak but I don’t think it’s any different from any other day really. Depression can strike at any time, and it can last for much longer than a day.
Last week was a bad week for me. I had my own Blue Monday. I felt really low, not myself at all. But a week later, I feel fantastic. And that’s because I dragged myself out of the house and ran for six out of seven days.
I didn’t feel like running at all, but I knew it would make me feel better, even if I only ran a mile. On Monday, I was late home so wanted to stay warm, eat chocolate and watch Silent Witness. I forced myself out. Just two miles, that’s what I kept telling myself. I really enjoyed it, and ended up doing more. I felt better straight away, and still treated myself to some chocolate.
The next night I made it a social run, meeting friends, so I knew it would be easy to get out. Wednesday was another late night at work, but out I went in the cold and dark on my own for two miles. On Thursday, Chris and I ran together. Friday was a day off running, and then on Saturday I did a fantastic five miles on my own, which was great for clearing my head. Sunday is always the day for long runs, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to run a set distance. Instead I arranged to meet a friend and just run. We did six miles, which was followed by a lovely breakfast.
By the end of the week, I felt fantastic. I was back to normal, with lots of energy and enthusiasm. If I’d not got out I wonder if I’d still be feeling as miserable as I felt last Monday. Running really can make a huge difference to mental health. It can boost your mood, your self-esteem and confidence. It’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends. There are so many benefits to running.
I’ve been running for 16 years, and I do it for my mental as much as physical wellbeing. It helps me to clear my head, relax and cope with the challenges I’ve faced. So, if you are feeling particularly blue this Monday, a run could make all the difference.