Making a cup of tea and having a chat with friends and family could make you feel less sad

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Today is the gloomiest day of the year, experts warn as they encourage people to banish Blue Monday sadness by having a socially distanced cuppa with friends

  • Blue Monday – the third Monday of January – is known as the most depressing day of the year 
  • This year, people are encouraged to make a cup of tea and chat to people they care about as millions face lockdown restrictions
  • For help call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org

Blue Monday should be renamed Brew Monday – when friends and family can chat with a cuppa and show they care about each other, say mental health campaigners.

Until now the third Monday of January has been known as the most depressing day of the year. The festive season is over, payday is a way off, the weather is gloomy and New Year resolutions may have been shelved.

But now Samaritans wants to put a more postive spin on it, encouraging people to make a cup of tea and have a chat on the phone or online with those they care about.

Great British Bake Off finalist and Samaritans volunteer Laura Adlington said: ‘Let’s reach out, let’s talk to people, and let’s have some meaningful connection and get talking, rather than kind of sitting and feeling sad and feeling alone in our sadness. We’re not alone.’

Great British Bake Off finalist and Samaritans volunteer Laura Adlington said: ‘Let’s reach out, let’s talk to people, and let’s have some meaningful connection and get talking.’ 

This year’s Blue Monday falls during a lockdown in a worldwide pandemic, meaning that challenges faced by many people in winter will be felt even more acutely.

Adlington said she has had days where she has not wanted to get out of bed and rather than talking to people has felt like she has wanted to ‘shut the world out a little bit’.

But she added: ‘What I’ve made myself do recently is reach out to people and talk, and it does help, it genuinely does help.’

Adlington said the ethos of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ may sound archaic but there is a lot of truth in it.

‘Bad days can seem eternal, but they really aren’t. What you’re feeling now is temporary,’ she said.

She pointed out that Samaritans is not just for people who are feeling suicidal, but also for people who are in crisis or ‘just having a really tough time’.

She said the service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, adding: ‘There is support available. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek it out.’

Adlington, who has been a Samaritans volunteer for two years, said: ‘If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to be kind.

‘If you think someone is struggling, ask them if they’re OK. You’re not going to make them feel worse.

‘You don’t need to have all the answers. A phone call is such a small thing, but it can mean the world to someone.’

This year's Blue Monday falls during a lockdown in a worldwide pandemic, meaning that challenges faced by many people in winter will be felt even more acutely. Samaritans are urging people to reach out (stock image)

This year’s Blue Monday falls during a lockdown in a worldwide pandemic, meaning that challenges faced by many people in winter will be felt even more acutely. Samaritans are urging people to reach out (stock image) 

Samaritans chief executive Julie Bentley said: ‘The challenges many people face during winter have been felt even more acutely this year with the pandemic restrictions.

‘At Samaritans, we know how powerful talking and listening can be, even if it is virtually.

‘It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about taking the time to listen and support one another. It could save a life.’

Samaritans said it found that 58% of UK adults felt that speaking regularly to friends and family either on the phone, via video calls or in person over the last year had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing.

The charity’s research also found that simply knowing someone who cares for your wellbeing is there for you, can make a big difference.

The research was carried out by YouGov from November 27 to November 30 and included 2,075 UK adults.

Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit.

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. 

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