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Experts Say 'Blue Monday' Is A Good Reminder To Reach Out To Those Who May Be In Need Of Emotional Support

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -  It's the third Monday in January, and if you're feeling down, you're not alone.

It's a day that's come to be known as "Blue Monday" because of a combination of seasonal challenges.

CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports on what you can do to lift your spirits.

The sun peaked out on this Blue Monday, a term coined years ago by a psychologist who, adding up the dreary weather, post-Christmas debt, and failed New Year's resolutions, dubbed it the most depressing day of the year.

Parents struggling with cooped up little ones wouldn't argue.

"It's cold. On top of that, there's COVID going on," one person said.

There was no science in picking the date but it made a point.

"You get the winter blues. I personally like spring and summer," one person said.

"The holidays are over, everything is behind us now," said another. "Especially we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel yet."

Winter blues can impact moods and motivation for months. The more severe - seasonal affective disorder - can be debilitating.

"You have a low mood, lack of interest. Maybe you're seeing changes in your sleep, and eating and they're going on for a few weeks, and really impacting your functioning," said Dr. Carrie Ditzel of Baker Street Behavioral Health of Northern New Jersey.


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Ditzel suggests get outside and get moving.

"Peace of mind. You don't worry about your problems, and you get through the day," said Bellmore resident Ibrahim Bayram.

"Moving, walking, getting that blood flowing - excellent to get you out of depression," said Uniondale resident Delroy Roberts.

Try meditation. Yoga can make you feel calmer. Better pillows can improve sleep and energy. Ask a doctor if light therapy can help, and try to accomplish something, even if it's small.

"Pick one room, one closet to tackle. That feeling of accomplishment, it's small, it's doable. That feeling can fuel you to make other changes," Ditzel said.

Lots of Mondays feel depressing these days, especially for isolated seniors says Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children's Association.

"Separation from families. The isolation. The watching your peers die in nursing homes without support. All of that has a cumulative effect," Reynolds said.

Reynolds says it's something we should be thinking about on Blue Monday, and every day. The best thing you can do to help a struggling senior citizen in your life is remember them and reach out.

For seasonal affective disorder, it's a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional, it's estimated to affect at least 10 million Americans.

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