Entering the New Year, you might have heard the term bandied about; but exactly what is blue Monday? In fact, the more appropriate question would be ‘when is Blue Monday?’.
A commonly used term to reference the third Monday of January, the 18th this year, Blue Monday marks the day we’re officially at our gloomiest, with feelings of post-Christmas despondency, wavering resolutions, and glum weather taking their toll.
Enough’s enough, though! In a bid to lift the nation’s spirits, we’ve drawn up our top six tried-and-tested pick-me-ups to get us all through the dastardly day. Read on to uncover a strategy that helps you…
Set small resolutions you can stick to
If your New Year struggles stem from difficult resolutions, our simple solution is to cut yourself some slack and set more realistic expectations. After all, you’re only human and, come on, we’ve all literally just battled through the toughest year of our lives…
The easiest way to combat resolution discontent is to set yourself smaller, more attainable targets. It’s as simple as that. Choose achievable milestones and celebrate every victory!
Dieting and exercise, two ever-popular New Year trends, are obvious examples and easy instances of applying this strategy. Instead of beating yourself up for missing the gym again, consider committing to less, a couple of times a week perhaps, and taking an hour out from your busy schedule on the remaining days for a healthy lunchtime stroll. Similarly, a total food cleanse can be made more manageable with the odd takeaway day or treat.
Give your body the detox it deserves
If you’re still in a post-Christmas slump, reeling from one too many chocolates, entertain the notion of a small-scale health drive. By all means begin a full-scale detox, but we’re thinking something a little less dramatic. After all, if a wholesale change in behaviour sounds like your bag, chances are you’ll already have registered it as your resolution (if struggling, see above!).
Anyway, we won’t bore you with the science (endorphins etc), but, aside from the clear and evident physical benefits, making little tweaks and adjustments to your lifestyle can go a long way towards improving your mental health and boosting your mood.
Three weeks into the year, shake your body into shape with a short walk, run, or cycle before a nutritious breakfast to set you up for the day. Proven to improve cognitive capacity and self-esteem, you’ll be glad for the change of pace.
Never be afraid to treat yourself
We know our bodies better than anyone. And while it’s, naturally, vitally important to act healthily, there should never be any stigma attached to simply taking a day off from time to time. This means takeaway night and a big glass of wine in front of your telly. Binge, bask, and relax your way into a state of serenity that’ll wash your Blue Monday blues away.
If a passion for physical health is something you can’t budge on, make more of an effort to give your mental health an overdue break, instead. Long hours at work can wear you down, so take the evening off for once. Enjoy complete cosiness and unwind in front of your favourite film or succumb to your inner spender and explore the online winter sales. In short, make the day and free time about you.
Fill your schedule with exciting plans
There’s nothing to get you raring like making exciting plans for the year ahead. If you’re feeling a little blue this Blue Monday, consider sitting down with a diary and blocking out segments of your agenda. From holidays and weekend breaks to meeting friends and going for drinks, give yourself something to get giddy about.
Naturally booking a holiday, for example, requires a monetary commitment you might not be able to make, as well as a little extra intricacy in the planning stage, so simply plotting your next adventure should suffice. But there’s nothing stopping you contacting family, friends, or loved ones to meet up for drinks (with a side of substantial meal).
The difficult feeling doesn’t last, and the good times will come again. So, it’s important to remind yourself of this and offer yourself motivation to power through the gloominess.
Reconnect with friends, old and new
Sometimes, the best thing to get us through the hard times is a chat with friends. The combination of familiarity and reminiscing about great times is just the reminder you need that low feelings are always temporary. So, get them on the phone or send a quick message for a catch up. Whether over video call or a socially distanced meander with a takeaway coffee, you’ll certainly see a lift in your serotonin levels.
Discover the benefits of practicing mindfulness
It speaks for itself but managing to maintain a clear head free of confusion and negativity will inevitably lead to a more enjoyable day. On Blue Monday, of all days, it’s important to practice positive techniques that enable you to slip away from feelings of anxiety.
Mindfulness doesn’t always mean meditation, either, and often requires minimal time and effort on your part. Listening to soothing music, heading out for a gentle stroll in the park, and enjoying a lie down are all positive steps towards ameliorating your mood.
Taking a quick half hour away from your screen, work, and social media gives you the opportunity to step aside from overwhelming feelings that might be brimming. This invariably improves motivation and confidence and allows you to more easily manage stress.
As the weather turns and New Year giddiness quickly wears off, it’s easy to start overthinking. As Blue Monday comes around again, though, apply our techniques and notice a definite lift in mood and feeling. With even more feel-good reads to get stuck into and all the latest from us, head to our blog.