It’s the ‘most depressing’ day of the year
Yes, ‘Blue Monday’ is here again, but what actually is it?
Blue Monday falls on the third Monday in January - which is TODAY - and the theory behind it goes a little something like this…
(There’s an actual ‘formula’ to determine when this particularly depressing day falls. It takes into account things like the weather, the days since Christmas, motivation levels and the feeling of a need to take action.) On this particular Monday, we’re all cold, broke from Christmas and New Year and feeling guilty over our failed New Year’s resolutions. And all this negative energy ways down on us making us feel blue.
While it’s probably pseudoscience, there’s no denying that this time of year can leave you feeling a little less like yourself than usual. And there is no shame in that. Everyone has off days.
But let’s remember, you are in control here. That is, there are small steps you can take to make yourself feel that little bit better. And these are applicable any time of year so save this blog to remind yourself when you need to!
It all starts with a good night’s sleep. Sleep has a massive effect on how we feel. If you don’t get enough sleep or you don’t sleep well, then you’re going to feel irritable and lack motivation. If you want to get a great night’s sleep, keep a regular sleep pattern and avoid using electronic devices for an hour before bed. Also, try a warm bath or relaxation exercises to lull you to sleep.
If a great night’s sleep isn’t enough, try a little exercise. Aerobic exercise like walking or jogging can help relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better and boost your mood. And it doesn’t have to take a massive chunk out of your day. Studies show 15 minutes of running or walking reduces the risk of major depression. So you can beat Blue Monday by getting moving… Maybe in a pair of ultra-comfy sports leggings.
Not motivated to move? No problem. Prep tasty meals for the day to keep you going. And don’t forget breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day! Embrace whole grains, eat fruit and veg, get your protein fix with chicken and fatty fish and limit sweets, sugary drinks, saturated fats and alcohol (…sorry, wine!). It’s easy to just reach for an unhealthy snack but they can leave you feeling even more tired. Stay strong and take care of yourself, your body will thank you for it!
Own the way you feel. It sounds silly, we know, but stay with me. Rather than ignoring your feelings, acknowledge them. Write down a list of all the things that are making you feel low and tackle them one at a time. For each problem write down a solution. Outline the benefits of working through your issues rather than ignoring them. This will motivate you to get started.
Also, don’t forget to spend time focusing on the positives in your life. Write down everything you feel grateful for. Everything that went well today. Appreciating the good can help you feel more optimistic about the day that has just gone.
Lastly, talk to someone like a partner, friend or relative. Meeting up with people you care about can be a good mood-booster. Talk to someone you trust, in person, over the phone or video call. At the very least, they can provide a second perspective.
If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone you know or your mood doesn’t change, please remember there are charities and organisations out there who are ready and willing to help. Here are a few you can contact:
Mind can answer any question you have around Mental Health and give you tailored advice about what support is available to you.
Phone number: 0300 123 3393
Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday
Samaritans provide round-the-clock support if you are struggling, experiencing the feeling of loneliness or isolation or you want someone to talk to, give them a call.
Phone number: 116 123
Opening hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
These are just a couple of the many places you can find support. Please, please don’t suffer in silence.