Wellbeing By Water – Looking Beyond #BlueMonday

Blue Monday…. Is it really the most depressing day of the year?  Simply put, no. 

The third Monday in January isn’t the most depressing day of the year (there’s no evidence to back this) but as we continue to navigate through the current pandemic, the particular challenges that brings, coping with shorter daylight hours and colder weather, it’s a useful reminder for us to take time to check-in with ourselves.

Spending time outdoors in green spaces with nature is a widely recognised as a way to help us combat stress, anxiety and low mood.  

But did you know that time spent by blue spaces such as canals, rivers and reservoirs, may have even greater wellbeing benefits?

Research shows that spending time by water, whether that’s a couple of minutes on a lunchbreak, or a longer walk or cycle along a towpath really does make us feel happier and healthier. Find out more here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/recharge-by-water

Our charity looks after 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales, with 316 miles of our network in Yorkshire and the North East. Some of our waterways run right through the hearts of our towns and cities – Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, Huddersfield Broad and Huddersfield Narrow Canal course through their namesake towns, providing open space for people living in these urban communities.

Sheffield and Tinsley Canal

8 million people in the UK live within 1km of a Canal & River Trust waterway (that’s 15% of the population) and 1 million people in Yorkshire & North East live near their local canal or river, so you can really appreciate the potential that the waterway network can bring to the wellbeing of the nation. These waterside places, on the doorstep for so many people, are more important than ever and our blue spaces are a fantastic free way to enjoy during your daily dose of exercise. 

If you live near to a water why not go and experience the benefits for yourself?  If you’re not sure where your local waterway is have a look here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/local-to-you

Please follow the latest government guidance and stay local, follow social distancing at all times, both from other people and from moored boats where people may be living aboard.

You can also experience our waterways that are further afield virtually, from birds eye tours, virtual open days, online jigsaws, audio tours and more: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/features

View the Canal & River Trust walks on our map:

Tees Barrage Park (East) Infinity Bridge Loop
Saltaire to Bingley
Goole to Rawcliffe Bridge
Tinsley Pump House to Rotherham

Written by Lizzie Dealey, Canal and River Trust