January 16th 2023

The third Monday of January each year is reckoned to be the most depressing day of the year.

It has been termed “Blue Monday” after a scientist came up with an equation to work that out.

Whist opinions differ on the merits of the designated  “day”, what is not in question is the positive rehabilitation effects on mental health that sport provides.

The benefits of playing sport on Mental Health are these:

Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.

Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.

Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.

Sport England says this on their website (https://www.sportengland.org/our-work/mental-health/why-we-invest-in-mental-health/ )

Here’s the equation. See what you think,

W = weather

D = debt

S = monthly salary

T = time since Christmas

Q = time since failing our new year’s resolutions

M = low motivational levels

Na = the feeling of a need to take action

Obviously, at the Leisure Leagues, we run 5, 6, and 7 a side football throughout the country and those are our sporting focus. Wherever you are. We have seen first-hand the positive atmosphere, the sense of community, the friendship and the improved fitness that the sport creates.

More than that, though, whilst we would love you to join a league today, we encourage anyone who is struggling with these issues to not be afraid to seek help.

Do not be told it is only acceptable to feel depressed on Blue Monday. It is ok not to be ok at any time.

To find the league nearest you, click here: https://www.leisureleagues.net/search and don’t forget you can join as a single player , which is an ideal way to make new friends.

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