January is considered to be the most depressing month of the year, with Monday 24th January 2011 apparently being the most depressing day of the year according to researchers. It is not surprising, after the fun and excitement of Christmas and the New Year we come back to earth with a bump. The weather is bad, the nights are still long, there are credit card bills to be paid, and if you are anything like me, the New Year's resolutions have failed.
It is not uncommon for people to feel low, anxious or depressed at this time of the year. This should not come as a surprise, as according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists depression affects one in five people at some point in their lives.
If you know someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or any other mental health issue, the most important thing you can do is to be there for them, helping and supporting them by providing a non judgemental listening ear.
If you are someone who is going through a difficult time at the moment, here are some tips which I hope will prove helpful.
- Seek medical help. Ask your GP what help might be available locally.
- Live healthily. Fitness, food, and sleep matter, and can often be overlooked when we feel low.
- Try to keep hold of God's promises in the Bible. Even if God feels distant, he isn't — it is a feeling caused by the depression. He is present, and still cares and forgives.
- Make a choice not to withdraw from things that would normally bring a sense of pleasure, achievement, or closeness to others.
- Think back to times when you have had a sense of closeness to God.
- Keep a routine of prayer, even if this is really short – or ask others to pray for you.
- Say "no" to some things. Balance demands that you have space to recover.