Every year, the third Monday in January is known as ‘Blue Monday’. The weather worsens, there’s less daylight and we’re all in a post-Christmas slump. On top of that, we’re encouraged to get fit, drink and eat less and take up a new hobby.
Some of us put our lack of motivation down to Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD or the ‘winter blues’), knowing that once the longer days arrive, we’ll feel better.
But, for others, this time of year can be very difficult. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our life. Now more than ever – we need to focus on our mental health and wellbeing and that of our friends and family.
At Benenden Hospital, we know the importance of looking after your mental health and well-being and the impact it can also have on your physical health too. So we’ve put together a series of helpful guides which we hope you will find helpful.
Men and mental health
According to the Mental Health Foundation, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you think a male member of your family is struggling with their mental health, there are ways to help.
Mental health and the menopause
Changes in your hormone levels and the stress associated with this phase of your life can impact your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. It’s common to experience stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of sadness, aggressiveness, and depression - as well as difficulty focusing and a lack of motivation.
Loneliness and its impact on mental health
Loneliness can be described as the feeling you get when social connections and relationships are limited or are not rewarding. However, loneliness is not the same as being alone because some people live happily without much contact with others. This varies depending on what type of person you are.
You may have a busy social life, be in a healthy relationship and have a great family and still experience feelings of loneliness. This can also worsen if you don’t feel understood by those around you, or if you have a pre-existing mental health problem. For example, if you have social anxiety, you may be in contact with people less and therefore feel lonely.
Whatever your age, our guide has some useful information on how to overcome those feelings of loneliness.
Work and mental health
Did you know that more than 40 million working days are lost each year because of poor mental health? Working too much or being consumed by your job can lead to stress and poor mental health – and can even affect you physically.
Our guides to staying healthy, happy and motivated at work and maintaining a good work/life balance can help you to avoid those feelings of dread on a Sunday and help you look forward to the week at work.
Help for mental health issues
If you need to talk to someone about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, there are services available for you to find help and advice such as NHS Every mind matters, Mind Charity, Samaritans or speak to a GP (this can be your own or using our Private GP Service).
If you find it difficult to talk about how you feel, or just want some practical advice on how to boost your mental wellbeing, we’ve put together a list of eight ways to help keep calm and carry on and shared our tips to relax and recover.
Help for your mental health at Benenden Hospital
If you've been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or would like to discuss your mental health, our fast access GP services can help. Book your appointment online today or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363158.
And don’t forget that Benenden Health members can call the Mental Health Counselling Support line on 0800 414 8247. Check the Benenden Health website for limits and exclusions.
Published on 12 January 2023