Tomorrow, the third Monday in January is apparently the most depressing day of the year.
According to Dr Arnall's rather complicated formula, which considers several 'misery factors' such as the weather, debt, failure of new year's resolutions, time since Xmas, lower motivation levels and desire to take action, this specific day in the year ranks the highest for depression levels.
Whether it's Blue Monday or any other day of the year, here's what you can do to beat the blues;
1) Do something for someone else
An act of kindness not only boosts those around you, it will boost your morale, lower your blood pressure and create emotional warmth whilst releasing Oxytocin, a hormone which plays a vital role in social interactions and bonding. Doing good for someone else rather than focusing on your inner turmoil is a proven 'feel good' technique and is readily used in meditation practices all over the world to settle the mind and spread kindness to others. Give it a go, it works, we promise!
2) Be kind to yourself
Whether you've eaten meat, drank a coffee or guzzled the left over vino from Xmas. Don't beat yourself up if you've broken your new year's resolution. We are our own worst critics, don't turn these good intentions into beating sticks.
Be as supportive of yourself as you would a friend. You can always try again, whatever time of year.
Find something that you enjoy and start your week with a healthy injection of daily exercise. Walk to work, cycle, practice yoga or do a quick morning stretching session at the side of your bed. Exercise is known to improve your mood by releasing those lovely little mood fighting endorphins! It's the best thing you can do to combat a negative mind and every little helps, with 30 mins daily being the goal.
3) Go outside
Spend time in nature, green space is known to dramatically boost your mood by reducing cortisol levels and providing space for busy minds. Many studies have proven reduced levels of physical and mental illness are directly proportional to the amount of green space nearby. Find your local park, take some deep breaths and appreciate mother nature at its best!
4) Take time to do nothing
Following the busy Xmas period, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to keep it simple. Be honest with your friends and family, say no to the things you really don't want to do or can't afford to do. You will feel closer and more connected with your peers by doing this.
5) Talk to your family & friends
Spend time with or talk to someone you love and really notice how that feels to be in their company. Hold on to the warm buzzy feeling of an open heart and your troubles will melt away! It's very hard to feel down in the dumps and loving at the same time, give it a try!
6) Have a bath
Light a candle, use your favorite aromatherapy oils and sink into a blissful relaxing soak, you deserve it. Pampering is good for the soul, whatever the day and will also count as time doing nothing as we mentioned earlier.
7) Get a good sleep
We all know how important it is to sleep well, but when it comes to Blue Monday, the least we can do is prepare for it as well as reward ourselves for getting through it, both with a good sleep. Research shows that consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is beneficial for boosting your immune system, managing weight loss, retaining memory and having a productive and positive day.
8) Bring Hygge into your living space.
Hygge is a Danish concept centered on creating a homely warm atmosphere. It has a focus on enjoying comforting things with the people you love. Think company, atmosphere, warmth and cosiness. People who embrace Hygge fill their living space with warm amber lights, scented candles (battery powered ones are also great) and chunky, soft blankets. They enjoy being cosy on the sofa with a hot drink surrounded by a mellow and relaxing ambience. Hygge is a concept that involves sharing but it doesn't mean the ambience you create at home can't be enjoyed by you alone. So why not invite Hygge into your life piece by piece, so you have an evening to look forward to every day.
And finally, take care of yourself, whatever the day, you deserve it xx