Brace yourself for the gloomiest day of 2013 next week.
Monday 21st January, also known as Blue Monday, is alleged to
be the most depressing day of the year thanks to a number of factors including
poor weather conditions, low motivation and time elapsed since Christmas.
In fact, the lack of natural daylight at this time of year
may provide the source of much of this low motivation and is perhaps the real
key to beating the winter blues.
A recent survey by Anglian
Home Improvements into the impact of reduced daylight over the winter
months found that the vast majority of us feel it has a negative impact on our
Residents in the North East are worst affected, according
to the study, with a huge 87% saying the reduction in daylight over the winter
months has a negative effect on their mood, while almost one in five North East
respondents claim the impact is significant. At a national level, 79% feel the
shorter days have an influence on their mood, with the least affected region
being Yorkshire and the Humber – proving
it’s not a simple North-South divide issue.
While a lack of motivation during the winter is common,
the study found that the overall impression varies quite dramatically from one
side of the county to the other, from 84% of those in the North East to only
72% in the South West noticing any impact at all.
These are startling statistics – especially as there are
still more than two months to go before we reach British Summer Time.
Melanie McDonald, Head of Marketing and Communications at
Anglian Home Improvements, says, “The survey shows a clear link between natural
daylight, mood and motivation. Many of Anglian’s customers have told us they
feel happier in the winter after installing a conservatory as they can spend
time watching what’s going on in the garden and make the most of the available
daylight, so it’s encouraging to learn that little changes – like making sure
you sit near a window or somewhere with as much natural light as possible – can
make a big difference to how we feel and cope with winter.”
So keep your spirits up on Blue Monday and beyond by
ensuring you get as much natural light exposure as possible, even if you’re
indoors. For those with a well-insulated conservatory that is easily done but
if not, sitting by a window can also make a big difference to your wellbeing
Twitter users to
beat the January blues
with a “cwtch”
A cwtch is for
life, not just for Blue Monday -
Nine in ten Brits
say a cuddle makes them feel happy
The ideal length
of a cuddle is 5.89 seconds
A quarter of
people don’t get a hug day-to-day
mentioned 148 times in a week by London’s Twitter users
Four in ten men
give their mates a man hug
Ahead of the supposed most
depressing day of the year, Blue Monday (21 January, 2013), new research by Confused.com
reveals that all people need is a hug to brighten up one’s day. In fact, 87% of
Brits say a simple cuddle would make them feel happy.
Sadly, 25% of Britons don’t
receive a cuddle day-to-day, according to the survey of 2,000 UK adults*.
2) 29% say a hug from a work colleague is generally unwelcome.
5) 12% say a hug at the end of a first date instead of a kiss is a let-down.
People in the South West are
most in need of a hug; 34% of those polled said they usually don’t receive a
hug day-to-day followed by 30% of people in Northern Ireland and 27% of people
in Scotland .
Confused.com encourages Twitter users to share a cwtch
To reach out to those in
need of affection, Cardiff-based Confused.com is launching an online campaign
which encourages social media users to spread a special kind of Welsh hug known
as a “cwtch” (pronounced cuch).
Meaning ‘an intentional embrace
to bring warmth and a sense of safety to those who need it’, 77% of Brits have
not heard of the word cwtch.
The campaign, which encourages
Twitter users to retweet an infographic which explains how to give a cwtch, aims to
bring this word into wider public consciousness while spreading some happiness and
warmth to beat the winter blues at the same time.
Physical contact, such as a hug, has a number of benefits.
Dr Eva Cyhlarova, Head of
Research at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Science tells us that the need
for physical contact is present at birth and there is an innate need for human
beings to form strong affectional bonds to others. There is evidence that hugging or holding hands reduces stress, blood pressure,
and cortisol, a stress hormone. It can also produce increased attentiveness and
boost serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that fights depression and
improves mood. It of course goes without saying that both parties need to agree
and be comfortable with any contact.”
Tweeting the blues
An analysis of UK Twitter
users shows people have been taking to the social networking site throughout
the month to vent their frustration at having the “January Blues”.
“Not even One Direction could cheer up my commute this morning. I think this is
a January Blues code red.”
The campaign aims to extend
a virtual hand to those that need cheering up online.
In London, the words
“January Blues” were mentioned on Twitter 148 times in the space of one week this
month, analysis by Confused.com shows.
This snapshot into the mood
of the nation shows other major cities have also been suffering from a touch of
the January Blues.
In Manchester, for example, “January Blues” was mentioned 62 times in the week 3 to 10 January and in Leeds it
was mentioned 40 times.
Example of the Tweets recorded by Confused.com, based on
@inspireajen “Not even One Direction could cheer up my commute this morning. I
think this is a January Blues code red.”
: @thesmashedguy “Proper got the January blues”
@LauraTuckwell1 “serious case of january blues”
@jen_gravitDefo “got a case of the january blues! #takemeaway! #needsunshine”
@lisa_mcgrath “Think I have the January blues #fedup”
Share a cwtch – Take a look at our ‘cwtch’ video and see what your day
is missing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXuqTG3foc)
While the word cwtch is not
widely known outside of Wales, a quick search on Twitter shows how it’s a firm
favourite within the nation:
@NaomiNelmes94 “A cwtch wouldn’t go a miss to make this revision
@kelliewaltersxx “cwtchhy weather and yet no one to cwtch”
@liamowen123 “I need a cwtch”
Confused.com hopes people
will share its cwtch infographic online and, once they have mastered the cwtch technique,
will take their newly acquired skills “offline” to share a special hug with a
People also have a chance to
win five warm and snuggly prizes for doing so, including a onesie, a hot
chocolate set, a hot water bottle, £50 worth of shopping
vouchers, a pair of Ugg boots, a DVD-box set and a popcorn-making machine.
Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at Confused.com,
“In our digital age of social-media based relationships our campaign aims to
tap into people’s networks of friends and family online and
Mental Health Research UK (www.mhruk.org) has a bright and cheerful new January campaign to raise awareness of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The campaign is so easy to support – all you need to do is wear your brightest clothes to work on so called ‘Blue Monday’ (21 January 2013) and donate £2 by texting BLOO22 to 70070. And that £2 will make all the difference to all those affected by depression and SAD. Easy – now just find your brightest clothes!
We hope you’ll join us to raise funds for Mental Health Research UK – why not send us your photos for our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EmergenceCIC
Mental Health Research UK is the first UK charity dedicated to funding research into the causes of and cures for mental illness.
Support is being offered to help people overcome what is labelled ‘the most depressing day of the year’ – Blue Monday on Monday January 21st – with activities to turn it into a day of ‘binge happiness’ – and also raise funds for mental health charities.
The combination of general economic doom and gloom coupled with the domestic grief of unpaid bills, broken resolutions, and bad weather make this potentially one of the worst Blue Mondays ever.
A special campaign web site, www.beatbluemonday.org.uk is offering practical advice to tackle the effects of Blue Monday, the symbolic date for the low point in the year, along with a special ‘5 stage Binge Happiness Work-Out’ programme to help people to make themselves happier.
Campaigners are aiming to reduce stigma associated with depression by talking about it and using the day as a springboard to improve quality of life by promoting and encouraging more happiness.
Blue Monday has evolved from an idea originally conceived by Cliff Arnall, formerly of Cardiff University, who created a mathematical formula to identify a number of the elements contributing to a general feeling of mid winter blues.
Advice for making you feel better during Blue Monday includes keep active, eat well, keep in touch with friends and family, care for others, do something you are good at, ask for help, accept who you are, talk about your feelings, take a break and drink sensibly.
Further help is also available from organizations such as the Mental Health Foundation who have produced a guide ‘How we can help ourselves’ available from www.mentalhealth.org.uk
The ‘Beat Blue Monday’ campaign is a completely non-commercial campaign developed by the Flexible Thinking Forum, a not-for-profit organisation promoting flexible and creative thinking skills in business and the community with the support of GREEN communications.
Commenting on the Blue Monday campaign Andy Green of the Flexible Thinking Forum said: “Blue Monday may symbolically be the year’s most depressing day, but it doesn’t have to be. By making the most of potential opportunities around us we can transform it into a springboard for a positive happy day – even a time for binge happiness. Blue Monday is also a time to think about mental well-being issues and doing positive things to help.”