Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Healthy Trinity > Mental Health

Mental Health Articles

New Year guide to better mental well-being

After the hedonistic whirl of Christmas, the New Year can be a bit of a downer; no more parties, festive food or money and a long stretch of cold, dark days ahead of us before the spring. It’s no wonder that New Year can put mental wellbeing at risk.

If this is a difficult time of year for you, your friends or family members, the TCD guide to mental wellbeing will help you cope. Here are a few areas to focus on:


Most people try to get active after Christmas to get rid of excess pounds from the festive feeding-frenzy. It’s worth remembering that exercise is also a pretty effective way of combating stress and depression. A study recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that just 30 minutes of exercise a day significantly improved the moods of patients who had been suffering from depression for nine months. Don’t worry, you don’t have to start training for triathlons, or anything like that, just getting out for a walk for half an hour will do the trick and lift your spirits.

In the mood for food

Feeling a bit up and down can also be affected by your diet. Try to get a steady supply of energy through the day by eating wholegrain foods like whole meal bread, jacket potatoes and brown rice that release energy slowly into the body. Sugar, on the other hand, will give you a quick boost followed by a dip in energy and may exacerbate things if you are feeling low. For the same reason, don’t skip meals or rely to heavily on stimulant drinks like coffee. Try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat and low fat dairy products as well, to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to be at your best.


Friends are the main source of support for people whose mental health suffers at this time of year, whether to a mild or severe extent. Just listening and talking to friends who are feeling down can make a huge difference. Try to be aware of how the people around you are feeling and not to back away if you find it difficult to cope. Remember that you can get advice from the counselling and health service at the college.