Turning Blue Monday into Brew Monday!
Brew Monday is a campaign launched by the support group Samaritans to counter Winter blues by sharing a cuppa and connecting with your loved ones. Brew Monday falls on the third Monday of January every year as it is often referred to as the ‘most difficult day of the year’, so to dispel the reputation of January being blue, the Samaritans’ ‘Brew Monday’ encourages people to reach out to family and friends over the British staple of a nice cup of tea!
The History of Blue Monday
Anecdotally the concept of Winter Blues has been around for centuries, but recent psychological and scientific research confirms that extreme weather changes can negatively impact mental health - Why is that?
1. Conclusion of Festivities
Many people suffer from Winter Blues after Winter celebrations of New Years and Christmas conclude, as during this period we tend to be surrounded by our loved ones and in the weeks following we go on with our responsibilities and tend to spend less time with one another. This change of atmosphere can often feel abrupt and can result in feelings of loneliness and isolation.
2. ‘Hibernation mode’
During times of extreme cold people stay inside more- which is seemingly harmless but can result in people not partaking in their usual activities, especially those that are outdoors- this experience of not being able to do the things you enjoy can result in negative feelings.
The neurotransmitter melatonin regulates our circadian rhythm (body clock) by preparing our body for sleep. Retinas in our eyes detect sunlight and elicit a chain of reactions that results in the inhibition of melatonin so we can be active and prepared for the day. However, in the winter, as there is less light our body clock becomes misaligned and melatonin secretion continues, tricking our bodies into thinking it's still night. This explains the chronic fatigue many people experience during winter.
How to Partake in Brew Monday:
The only requirements to celebrate Brew Monday are to have a cup of any beverage and to reconnect with your loved ones! Haven’t heard from a friend in a while? Pick up the phone and give them a call! Haven't seen family members since Christmas? Arrange for everyone to get together! Brew Monday is about being there for your loved ones during difficult times, to listen and empathise with what they say and to also have the courage to open up in return! The art of being a good listener is key for Brew Monday so that you encourage your loved ones to reach out.
Actively listen using nonverbal communication, such as body language, eye contact and head nodding to reassure the speaker that they have your undivided attention.
Empathise with the speaker using phrases such as “I understand” “that sounds difficult" and asking appropriate questions to further prompt the conversation, to encourage the speaker to continue opening up.
Understand that some people prefer for you to just listen to them talk about how they feel instead of receiving advice, so be mindful about giving unsolicited advice!
Hosting a Brew Monday event
You can host your own Brew Monday event, in person or virtually, whatever suits you! Here at bMindful Psychology we are celebrating brew Monday by everyone catching up and speaking about how they’ve been feeling lately over a beverage of our choice. You can use your get-together to raise money for Samaritans and help people having a difficult time to be heard.
To conclude, there is no better remedy to the dark cold winter days ahead, than a cup of tea and reconnecting with your family and friends!
If you feel you need support or would like to speak to a qualified professional regarding your wellbeing, one of our clinicians at bMindful can offer advice and guidance. Contact 0161 510 0111 or visit our website bMindful psychology – a specialist psychology service with particular expertise in children and young people