Today, January 21st , is Blue Monday.
The third Monday of January each year is reckoned to be the most depressing day of the year.
It has been termed “Blue Monday” after a scientist came up with an equation to work that out based on the following criteria.
W = weather
D = debt
d = monthly salary
T = time since Christmas
Q = time since failing our new year’s resolutions
M = low motivational levels
Na = the feeling of a need to take action
There have been a number of people saying that is just a marketing stunt (and certainly it is true to say that the Scientist was employed by a Travel Firm, who then used the term in a press release to sell their winter holidays) but we cannot ignore the importance of mental well-being either.
There have been myriad studies into the positive effects of sport on Mental Health.Sport England says this on their website (https://www.sportengland.org/our-work/mental-health/why-we-invest-in-mental-health/ ) that the benefits of playing sport on Mental Health are these:
Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.
Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.
Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.
Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.
Obviously, at the ISF, our focus is on small sided football and we encourage anyone to play small sided football wherever they are in the world. We have seen first-hand the positive atmosphere, the camaraderie, the friendship and the joy that the sport creates.
More than that, though, we encourage anyone who is struggling with these issues to not be afraid to seek help.
Do not be told it is only ok to feel depressed on Blue Monday. Please look after yourselves throughout the year.