Blue Monday and Supporting Mental Wellbeing

Today, January 17th 2022, is the 3rd Monday in January and is marked as this year’s Blue Monday.    

Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year when, in theory, we are often financially broke, feeling cold (if you live in the UK) and feeling guilty about not sticking with New Year’s Resolutions to get fit, drink less, or be a better human being. 

Did you know that only around 16% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them, and most often, these are broken within the first 6 weeks.  

Whether you are one of the 84% of people who has made a New Year’s resolution that is broken, or feeling frustrated financially or in other ways, there are ways to support psychological health during Blue Monday and other challenging times.  Nutritionally supporting the body by eating good healthy food, regular meals, and staying hydrated all contribute to feeling best able to deal with all that life throws at you. There are also several specific nutrients that can help support normal psychological function and thus potentially impact mood.

It is thought that the lack of sunshine during the winter months contributes to people feeling sad at this time of the year.  Exposure to sunlight is important for production (by our skin cells) of vitamin D—an essential vitamin with many functions in humans. November to March is the period of time in the Northern hemisphere when there is insufficient sunlight to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D via skin exposure to sun.  By the time January comes round, any vitamin D stored in the body is likely at a real low point.

The B vitamins are also important for normal psychological function and ensuring these on a daily basis is important since, unlike with fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D), the B vitamins are water-soluble and need to be provided daily.  In addition to contributing to normal psychological function and normal functioning of the nervous system, B vitamins help contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and the normal functioning of the immune system. 

Vitamin C, another water soluble vitamin, is also important for normal psychological function, also providing immune support, nervous system support, energy and many other functions.  Vitamin C needs providing daily.

Water soluble vitamins are easily lost during cooking. Also, vitamin C and the B vitamins, because they are water-soluble vitamins, do not store in the body.  These need providing daily and generally can be taken in high amounts without negative impact.

Magnesium is another nutrient that contributes to normal psychological function.  In addition, magnesium contributes to normal nervous system function, normal energy-yielding metabolism and reduction of tiredness/fatigue.

These nutrients (vitamin D, B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium) are essential nutrients with particular relevance to support for mental health.

Although Blue Monday is meant to be the worst day of the year for mental health and wellbeing, good mental health is important every day.  Provide your body with these essential nutrients daily to support mental and physical wellbeing.

Food supplement powders such as Maqui Berry powder and Açaí powder can be added to smoothies (or yoghurts, porridge, etc) and are a great way to boost nutrients, providing superfood power and tasty nourishing drinks. Camu-Camu capsules can be opened and the contents added to smoothies to boost vitamin C.

The easiest way to ensure optimal levels of these nutrients is to supplement alongside a healthy diet.  These nutrients are available individually or in combinations as multivitamins, as capsules, tablets and as oral sprays which are great on-the-go for busy lifestyles.  And some are available as liposomal capsules (particularly good for older individuals and those with poor absorption).

Let’s make this and every Monday a Happy Monday!

If you are feeling depressed, please seek help and guidance from your healthcare provider.