Wellness Worksheet for Mental Health Week 2018

As part of Mental Health Week 2018 I put together the worksheet below. I asks questions about what wellness means for you, what triggers impact you that make you unwell and space for you to create an action plan to maintain your wellness.

Wellness Worksheet – Mental Health Week 2018

This worksheet is adapted from WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) – mentalhealthrecovery.com and other sources

“Blue Monday”: Seven Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

January is a bleak time for many. As Christmas becomes a distant memory, most of us are meandering through the fog and cold, having disturbed sleep routines, and the pressure to set New Year’s resolutions. Is this familiar?

Generally, our bodies feel the strain of December’s pace and the pressure of Christmas, and we wait patiently until the arrival of spring and light again.

So what and when is Blue Monday?

We had Black Friday and now there is a “Blue Monday”. It has been calculated since 2005 by psychologist, Dr. Cliff Arnall.  Factors he used to calculate the date included weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing New Year’s resolutions, low motivation and feeling the need to take action. It’s typically the third Monday of the month so in 2018 this would land on Monday 15th.

Why don’t some people like the idea of Blue Monday?

Everyone feels not so able for day to day life, particularly so when there is less light and when this time of year follows the Christmas season (this of course being dependent on your feelings towards Christmas itself). So we all might feel “blue” from time to time, and maybe a little more in January. This might be very different from those who suffer and struggle with with depression, no matter what time of year. It’s important to name this difference as there is a very real difference for the person who suffers with depression and the person who might feel glum or “blue” at particular times.

Whether you’re feeling down or optimistic on Blue Monday or any other day of the week, we present a few ideas that you can do to beat the blues and nourish yourself:


Here are 7 ways to beat the winter blues:

1.Listen to Yourself

This is key in tuning into how YOU feel. If you feel like going for a walk, just do it. If you feel like catching up with a friend, then do it. Alternatively, if you feel like chilling and relaxing at home, then that is ok too. Do whatever nourishes you.

2. Get some light/spend time in nature

Capitalise on the light. Research suggests that getting more light can help your mood – something that might be difficult during the shorter days – perhaps making an effort to get outside when there is daylight?

3. Stay Social

People will often withdraw from work, family, recreation . . . all the things that can actually help, says American therapist, Michael Boman. “Make sure to connect,” he says. Reach out to people. Even by text or phone.

4. Move your body  

Any steady movement you enjoy— dancing, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling—boosts endorphins, and will leave you feeling calmer and happier. Some gentle yoga or stretching is also beneficial too and can help to shift the energy and get you out of that “rut” feeling.

5. Eat “Mood Food”

Food is fuel. Food also changes your mood. Eating breakfast sets your metabolism and regulates your mood for the day. Foods rich in Omega 3’s and Vitamin B6 are good. Have a banana, eat a turkey or tuna sandwich or munch on some sunflower seeds.

6. Have something to look forward to

Arranging something in advance helps keep your motivation levels up and creates a sense of anticipation and joy. Something like a cinema outing, a day out with a friend, a yoga class or a trip to a museum can keep your mood levels up and give you a boost.

7.Talk it through

A problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to someone can ease the burden of your thoughts and help you “get out of your head”. Sometimes, confiding in a trusted friend, family member or therapist can help you get the support you need if you are struggling. Remember, “it’s ok not to feel ok” and talking helps.

Perhaps use January as a time for contemplation and an opportunity to use the long, dark evenings as a time of reflection; allowing things to emerge like the arrival of spring….and most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Useful Contacts:



Hospice Foundation

Pieta House

Women’s Aid





Food Safety


About Paul Hogan

Paul is a Humanistic and Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Dream work and mindfulness are a core element of how Paul works. Paul helps people with a range of issues including anger, fear, panic, flashbacks and nightmares.

Contact: 089 4759635



Facebook: @paulhogantherapy


About Deirdre Madden

Deirdre is a Humanistic and Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Jungian and Body Psychotherapy are her particular interest areas and her practice is informed by yoga, mindfulness with a strong emphasis on the integration of mind and body.

Contact: 087 3819427



Twitter: @dmadden_therapy


New Year Resolutions

So it’s nearly the end of the year. This is traditionally it’s a time to make plans and ‘new year’s resolution’ for 2018.
The article from 2009 below is as relevant now as it was then.
Making promises to ourselves that we may not be able to keep sets us up for disappoint and self blame.
Doing something different or new is growthful but this growth can backfire if the self-recrimination sets in.
Perhaps taking on a new challenge in 2018 (or anytime) could be accompanied with the idea of ‘firm but gentle’ – firm in trying to stay with the new challenge but gentle on yourself if you don’t..http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7806776.stm

Christmas Survival Guide

Christmas Survival Guide – click to download PDF

Christmas is so often portrayed in the world as an idyllic, near perfect picture postcard; a bit like the pictures on a Christmas card itself. This can be pressure to ‘live up’ to what Christmas ‘should be’. This can be even more so for someone who already finds this time of year difficult.

It is a time when you may spend more time than usual with people you would not usually spend time with. This could be extended family and friends or also your immediate family.

As well as all of this, perhaps Christmas for you might bring up some anxieties, reminders from Christmas past, maybe it reminds you of loved ones who are no longer here?

My friend and peer, Deirdre Madden and I present a brief list of ways that you might find useful to help you ‘survive’ this time of year.

We hope that you can experience whatever Christmas means for you, as best you can. Our gift to you is that this might be easier for you having read our Survival Guide.