Monthly Archives: January 2017

Where is the Light? #BlueMonday and S.A.D.

 

This is the week that contained the most depressing day of the year – apparently.

Blue Monday was worked out by a PR company using the time it’s been since you’ve been paid, bad weather and low motivation levels were combined to try to get people to escape the winter blues and invest in a sunny holiday.

The problem is, the idea that a single day can be the most depressing misses the point somewhat. Depression isn’t a passing feeling – it’s a mental illness.  Once again, we have to be able to tell the difference between the experiences on  spectrum of human emotion and the very real horror of mental illness.

And whilst I think we can be confident in debunking the myth of the “most depressing day of the year” – some people are adversely affected by the changing seasons – most commonly in the winter, but it can also be experienced in the summertime. It can be caused by a disrupted body clock, a lack of natural light or lower/higher levels of the chemicals serotonin and melatonin.

 

People who have S.A.D struggle over the same season every year for a few years. They may have much less energy and experience low mood, but they can also experience periods of mild mania, anxiety and greater drug or alcohol use.

And even more people suffer with the ‘winter blues’; where they might not meet the diagnosis for S.A.D but still few markedly lower through the darker months.

One of the best ways to help yourself of you’re struggling is to try to get out in the natural day light as much as possible (taking a walk during your lunch break can be a good way to get more light in your life) or invest in special kinds of lights (organisations such as  SAD Association, and sad.org.uk can help with costs).

 

And if we know people who are struggling; we need to encourage one another to seek all the light we can.

Whether it be taking a lunch time walk with a colleague, having coffee with a friend or relaxing with some hygge-inspired candles to encourage sleep -take note of your friends who find the going gets tough when the days get darker – and let’s ensure that this year #BlueMonday was a reminder to help out a friend with SAD.

 

 

New Year, New You!

You see them everywhere this time of year, don’t you?

“New Year, New Body”

“Change yourself – change your life”

“Spring Clean! De-Clutter for the New Year”

A new year is loaded with expectation, hope – and sometimes fear.

It can be tempting to pin our hopes on the clock striking midnight and a new year beginning. For many years I did just that, only to crash come the 5th of January when I realised that the date may have changed, but my life hadn’t.

I put so much pressure on myself and the new year that things would change – I thought the change of the date would mean that I’d get better – even though my situation, my illness, my attitude – none of it had changed. And I was sent reeling all over again when faced once again with what I’d tried to leave behind in the year that had passed.

And herein lies the problem, for the dawn of a new year can bring in a new era, and a new chance for change and hope. But at the same time, the world doesn’t reach perfection on the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December.

There has to be a way by which we hold onto the hope and expectation a new year can bring -without expecting change in life just because numbers on the clock change.

So this new year, perhaps it would be a good idea, to focus on a timeless hope. One that existed before the calendar began. The hope which may not mean a magic wand is waved – but does mean that we have a God who redeems and restores.

ThinkTwice wishes you the happiest of New Years, filled with hope and life.

And so I echo the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr for us all this year:

“God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”