Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!

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Blue Monday – Debunking the Myth??

I have heard about Blue Monday before and to be totally honest I have never paid much attention to it at all for a few reasons. Firstly, I just don’t understand how we are all meant to be feeling the same way on this one specific Monday and secondly as I have aged I have found each Winter more and more depressing, so by January I am generally blue all week, not just on the Monday. So, I thought I would do a little research into where this saying has come from, who it has come from and why are we OK agreeing with Blue Monday really being a thing??

This year Blue Monday falls on the 16th of January. Now before we all set our alarms for the worst day of our year I will just give you a basic description of what I found online to be the cause for Blue Monday. Apparently it happens because of an overindulgence over the festive period, a feeling of guilt that we haven’t stuck to our new year’s resolutions already and a lot of
us have unpaid credit card bills from trying to buy gifts etc (or in our current climate just trying to keep our families warm and fed). This was just a general search, there could be more reasons, but after I read about not sticking to new years resolutions I wondered why it wasn’t called the Blue 2nd of January, but that’s probably my lack of will power talking.

Here is where my research really started to both interest and annoy me at the same time. I never recalled there being a Blue Monday when I was a child, I thought possibly my parents has sheltered me from this horrible Monday. It turns out that the term was only released in 2005 in what I can only say in my opinion was nothing but a PR stunt by a well known travel company!

A psychologist coined the phrase the year earlier in 2004 when he was asked to come up with a “scientific formula” for the January blues. I think what annoyed me the most is that nothing was mentioned about the lack of daylight and so our vitamin D levels by January can be rather depleted and many people suffer with things like seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) and this could well be contributing to why people feel a bit lower at this time of year. Anyway, personal annoyance put to the side, there really isn’t such a thing as Blue Monday in terms of scientific proof.

So, now that we have found out where this phrase has come from but a lot of people will still be feeling a little blue, whether it be a Monday or any other day of the week I thought I would write up a short list of suggestions of things we could try. I will include things I will never try, things I already love and things I am not completely opposed to trying because we are all so different,
some of these suggestions might just not be for you and that’s absolutely fine.

  • Call a friend. It could be someone you haven’t spoken to for ages or someone you talk to every day, heating a comforting voice can make a difference.
  • Meditate. Even just sit and concentrate on your breath for a little while to slow things down. Sometimes we can get more agitated and down when we aren’t breathing properly so just slow down, 5 or 10 mins is enough or take as long as you need.
  • Physical activity. This one divides people. Some people love to get moving and some people when they see that phrase think they have to run 5 miles, seriously physical activity could be something like get up and cook your favourite meal from scratch, go for a short walk with the dog if you have one, or with a friend that has one, do the ironing. When I say physical activity this by no means implies getting to the gym and sweating for an hour or two, I would be a hypocrite to suggest this, the last gym I was in I was in high school, and even then I was unhappy.
  • Set realistic resolutions. This means that we can avoid the guilt of not sticking to the big ones that we have made. So if you like to have 5 sweets or chocolates after your dinner as a treat, can we cut it down by one a day? If the long term goal (this is mine) is to really get on top of tidying the house , start by making the bed every morning. It’s more about the mindset than the resolution, stop giving yourself things to feel guilty about.
  • Get creative. This could be drawing, planting new colourful things in the garden, It could be buying a cheap bunch of flowers and arranging them beautifully in a vase to enjoy in our room. Why not try a new meal? Be creative in the kitchen, even chopping veg differently can make an everyday meal just feel different.
  • Eat well. We have all had months of overeating, sweets and chocolates are everywhere, give your body a treat and give it a vitamin boost it probably needs by now.
  • Make the most of natural light. Even on a dull day we can take 10 mins to just be outside, it really does make a difference. If you are not able to be outside, open some windows for a little while and breathe in some fresh air. Trust me it does make a
  • Change your environment. Change the bed sheets, move the furniture, go visit a friend or a relative. There are so many ways we can change our environment. I could write a whole blog just about that, but our minds need things to change now and again.
  • If you have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder why not invest in a proper S.A.D lamp?
  • Quit a bad habit. I am not even going to give any suggestions here because we all know what we would like to change or quit, why not just try reducing it a little?
  • Learn something new. Nobody is too old or too young to learn something new. Even listen to an information packed audiobook while you go about your day, it’s surprising how much the mind can absorb even when we think we aren’t paying full attention.

These are all important questions. I must admit when my depression was really bad I had a compulsive spending habit II would go
to work and every day come home with at least one new item of clothing. I now have enough clothes to last me well into my 80’s as long as I don’t gain any weight or grow any taller which I’m sure won’t happen, so my money wise and attainable resolution this year will be to get rid of what I no longer need or use, declutter my space and only buy essential items (which isn’t easy for a compulsive spender).

I hope some of these tips help a little. And also the knowledge that Blue Monday is nothing to be feared, it’s not even really a thing alleviates some pressure. Have a fantastic week. I’ll be back soon with some more of my dorky research.


(Hope you enjoy our volunteers humorous take on Blue Monday…. 🙂 )

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Social Anxiety during the Festive Period

The perfect Christmas doesn’t look like the ones on TV, it looks like the one you enjoy. There’s so much pressure to be happy and to be part of a big celebration but I’ve found that finding downtime, solitude and space to simply feel however I feel makes the holidays easier to manage. 

Whether it’s a whole day of peace and quiet or locking yourself in the loo for a few minutes of meditation, being able to recharge can make a world of difference. It gives me the ability to truly enjoy time with loved ones without burning myself out. 

A few of my favourite tricks to recharge my mental batteries are:

The dog is always happy to go out – fresh air and a bit of movement really does clear out the cobwebs. 

Meditation – taking time to be in the moment can stave off anxiety spirals before they become overwhelming. 

• Your phone is useful – text a friend, watch that video that always makes you laugh, look at pictures of chilled out capybaras. Distractions can really help

Low key alternatives – sometimes family can be too much, try coffee with a friend or visit a local community event for a change of scene.  (https://www.facebook.com/425132480881448/posts/pfbid02nvbNvTh4up2vKUYReWkcQEmPbcU3mvy7oRf24ccy7HHWSsjifrW3CoT1NdstM3iol/?app=fbl)

If social anxiety has taught me anything, it’s that people and relationships matter, the rest doesn’t. Celebrate with your loved ones in the way that works best for you and that will be a perfect Christmas.”


Katie S.

p.s. our thanks goes to Katie, one of volunteers peer workers for this article. Lived Experience proves to be very helpful.

Photo – The Old Packhorse Bridge – Carrbridge, Scotland. (Maggie Wright)

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Three and a half months may have gone speedily for some but dragged out for others. For us here at Families in Trauma, it has gone very fast due to the upsurge of interest in our work – which I am glad from that point of view. However, sad also for those who have suffered and families who are mourning.

Our eLearning course is to be launched next week – which seems like it couldn’t be more needed – a leaning post – to get us through these really tough times. We have been getting feedback from a few who have trialed the course. Our first podcast, was released through our social media pages – a discussion around the very supportive method of eCPR – emotional CPR – so so sorely needed just now especially.

We have also been busy developing workshops online (yes we do have a bit of Zoom fatigue too 🙂 ) but it seems to be an ideal way to interact with people at this time. We have a number of podcast discussions arranged to discuss what the different services in Fife are offering during this extremely pressured time period for families on the ground.

And finally, please remember that as well as creating our own resources, we can also help signpost to other organisations who we have worked along with. This often is an unsung service, and yet we have personally spoken with a number of individuals from various services in Fife and Scotland – who just weren’t aware of the vital services in their midst. So please, contact us if you need to – and we can often do the legwork for you – or we may already know exactly who you need to speak to.

“Still I rise” Maya Angelou

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How could I possibly add anything or take anything away from this wonderful piece shared time and again, and which resonates even more strongly during this most difficult time the human race is facing. Needs no explanation.