First the bad news. Today is 'Blue Monday', apparently the most depressing day of 2017.  The worst day to start a new job, tackle the world's problems or do anything other than crawl under the duvet and wait for it all to pass (sounds like a few Mondays to me!).

The reason?  A much-hyped - and much ridiculed - formula dreamt up at Cardiff University just before the recession.

Pity it's today as today is actually my birthday! So I personally feel pretty good. Although my 'day out' today consists of a check up and hygiene visit at the dentist - wish me luck!

Psychologist Cliff Arnall calculated that the third Monday of January represents the peak of post-Christmas gloom.  Factors included bad weather, Christmas debts due, the removal of Christmas lights, failing our new year's resolutions, low motivation levels and the need to take action.

But don't despair.  There are many things that can pick us all up and help to improve our outlook for the year:

  • Play in the snow (if you have any near you) – just because we're not kids doesn't mean we can't act like them.  Throw a snowball at someone – trust me, this will cheer you up!
  • Call someone you have been meaning to for a while – this may be an old friend, family member or your neighbour.  Talking to an old buddy will help you to think about the good times.
  • Foods to eat to battle the blues include brazil nuts, peas, liver, sardines, chillies, high-fibre cereals, bananas, and even chocolate! Dark chocolate is especially effective. Drink water, not alcohol, as alcohol is a depressant and can make you feel worse.

Often after a heart event you can feel down, anxious, worried about the future and a bit 'stuck' about what to do next.

The key thing is to take each day one at a time, don't let things overwhelm you. Now is the time to take a 'break' from any stressful tasks/events/things you've signed up for. Save your energy to focus on healing, looking after your health and moving forward one step at a time. Deep breathing, healthy eating and getting small amounts of exercise and fresh air each day can help to lift your mood.

Keep a diary with how you are feeling each day, along with what you have achieved, no matter how big or small. 'Walking to the front gate' can be a good starting point; before you know it you'll be able to walk around the block, a few miles and who knows what else.

Let me know if you need extra support. Here is a great story to check out with some tips and advice:

https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/my-story/richard-gale

Let me know if you have any questions at all.

Speak soon,

Angela

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