Today (January 19) is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. As YorkMix teams up with York Mind, Holly Pollard looks at how to boost your mental health at any time of year
1. Take someone outside
If you think you, or someone you know, may benefit from some extra support with their mental wellbeing in York, York Mind accepts self-referrals throughout the year
Please visit yorkmind.org.uk for the online referral form, details of our services and further information about how to get involved
OK, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s cold in January. But wrap up properly and you might find experiencing the great outdoors at this time of year can really lift your mood, or the mood of someone who’s feeling low.
Or if you need a rest why not sit in the museum gardens, by the river, or near York Minster and watch the world go by.
2. Try active listening
We’ve all done it; offered to make someone a cup of tea and then ended up talking about ourselves and our problems instead of listening to theirs. Something that can really help is actively listening to what someone else has to say.
You don’t have to give advice; the most important things are to pay attention, let the other person know you’re listening and not judge what’s being said.
Allowing someone to talk things over, without a counter-argument, could be just what they need.
3. Kind gestures go a long way
Letting someone know that you’re in their thoughts is a great way of being supportive.
Make the effort to remind them you care, whether that’s brightening up your colleague’s desk with a bunch of £1 daffodils from York Market, or popping them a text message over the weekend to say hi.
4. Don’t be afraid of quiet time
Spending time with someone doesn’t need to be filled with noise. Quiet time in the company of another person can be a good way to avoid unwanted thoughts and feelings occupying your mind.
So what better time is there to visit the newly refurbished Explore York Library & Archive on Museum Street?
5. Introduce small changes to routine
We’re not talking about grand resolutions that highlight negative thoughts you have about yourself and are difficult to keep. Small adjustments to your routine can introduce you to new things that you’d been missing.
How about taking a different route to work one day a week? Perhaps you could set off a few minutes earlier so you’ve got plenty of time to notice new things.
Or resolve to take a proper lunch break away from your desk and go for a wander. York is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered – all you need to do is look around you.
6. Make lunch for someone
Making sure your body’s getting the right nutrients can play a big part in maintaining healthy emotional wellbeing. York Mind even runs a free Healthy Eating course to offer practical healthy cookery skills whilst exploring the relationship between food and mood.
If your friend or colleague is feeling low, how about bringing them a spot of lunch or a fruit smoothie? (If you haven’t time to make it, why not grab something healthy and delicious from Shambles Kitchen?)
7. Give your time to help others
Giving time to help others is a wonderful way to feel more positive and can take the focus away from any intrusive thoughts of your own you may be having.
York Mind are always seeking volunteers and have a range of both ongoing and occasional vacancies available throughout the year, why not have a look and see if there’s anything that takes your interest.
8. Try something new together
When we are learning new skills, we naturally distract ourselves and focus our thoughts away from any negativity we might be experiencing.
Exploring your creative or active side, with a new class or activity, could be helpful for someone who’s feeling low – especially if they’ve got you as a companion, to be with them through any anxieties they may have.
York Mind provides a range of free leisure and social activities to aid recovery from mental ill-health – including green exercise, photography, craft and yoga.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for inspiration, YorkMix has a regularly updated What’s On guide filled with things to do in York.
YorkMix is teaming up with York Mind throughout the year to help this vitally important charity raise awareness and funds