Hitchin care home launch mental health initiatives to squash that Blue Monday feeling

Residents at a care home near Hitchin, Hertfordshire have taken part in mental health initiatives to promote happiness and connection - boosting positive wellbeing during the cold and dark January period.

Dubbed the most challenging day of the year from a mental wellbeing point of view - ‘Blue Monday’ which took place on Monday, January 17 has been exacerbated this year due to the ongoing threat of the Omicron variant, residents at Foxholes Care Home have been promoting positive health through a meditation session and a drop-in coffee afternoon for all its staff and residents.

The meditation session, which took place in the home’s lounge, provided residents with enriching mental stimulation - with benefits including lower blood pressure, decreased pain, better immune system function, as well as improved mood and brain function. The family-run home also hosted a drop-in coffee afternoon, allowing both residents and staff to get together and chat over a warming cuppa.

Sharing her thoughts after the therapeutic activities, 91-year-old resident, Una Bracey, said: “It was nice for us to be able to be heard.” Meanwhile, fellow resident, David Barr, 88 “loved” the meditation classes and found the initiatives on the day “really relaxing”.

Originally created by UK travel company, Sky Travel, the term Blue Monday has traditionally been given to the third Monday of every January since 2005. Brew Monday was then given to the same day by the charity Samaritans, with a focus on connecting with family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.

Commenting on the afternoon of mentally stimulating activities, Neil Gandecha, estate manager at Foxholes Care Home, said: “It’s been another challenging winter period for everyone, and particularly for those in social care. Every year, we see Blue/Brew Monday as a chance to talk and offer support to people who may be struggling with their mental health.

“With that in mind, it was our mission to provide our residents and staff with activities that connected everyone on a meaningful level, whether it’s through meditation, or sharing a coffee to help reach out and stay connected.”