The third Monday of every January is coined ‘Blue Monday’ as the shine of the New Year wears off and the reality of a dark and wintry January sets in.
It’s no surprise we’re prone to feeling a little under the weather when the festivities of the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve celebrations are all but distant memories. We’re also three weeks into the healthier version of ourselves, which probably includes extreme changes to your fitness, alcohol and dietary consumption. And let’s not even mention the fact that it feels like an eternity since we were last paid. If any of these resonate, here are my top 5 tips for banishing those Blue Monday blues.
- Choose Happiness
Granted, today has all of the ingredients to make for a miserable start to your week, but it’s your choice whether you partake. Stop reading for a moment and think about three things that you’re grateful for today. It could be the fact that you simply woke up, it could be that you have a job that allows you to drive to work, heck it could be that you even have a job at all, regardless of whether it’s your dream or not. We could be grateful for friends and family members, our pets or a colleague who occasionally brings in baked goods. Whatever feels good for you right now, hold some space for the things that bring you joy and gratitude, rather than the negatives of Blue Monday.
- Identify An Area For Change
Is it the January Blues that are getting you down or is there something more striking in your life that needs a spring clean? Sometimes the buzz of Christmas parties, hitting deadlines and return to work can act as distractions for an underlying issue that we’d rather not face. When week 3 of January rolls around and things have plateaued, it can shine a light on a job, relationship, unresolved issue or living situation that can be a point of unfulfillment, anger and resentment. Get honest with yourself and see if there’s a positive step you can take to addressing these things and watch as Blue Monday gets a bit brighter.
- Random Acts of Kindness
What can you do today to make someone else smile? A small act of kindness can make the biggest impact and doesn’t have to cost you much at all. Here are some of my favourite things to do. The bonus, it’ll make you feel great, too!
- Smile at a stranger
- Pay it forward: Giving the person behind you in the queue a free coffee
- Say good morning, afternoon and evening to people you pass in the street
- Engage with the person serving you behind the till
- Ask if anyone needs any help at work before you leave
- Make a tea round for people in the office
- Give someone a genuine compliment
- Ask if someone needs to talk and listen if they look troubled
- Look After You
Exercise, nutrition and sleep are guaranteed to boost your mood and lift your spirits. What can you fit in today within those areas? Perhaps choose to eat a healthier lunch, go for a walk in your work breaks, go to a local fitness class after work and hit the hay early this evening? Failing that, there are plenty of free fitness resources available online for you to sweat it out at home. Alternatively, you can find yoga, pilates or guided meditation videos to unwind and reconnect with yourself. Just because the day started out as Blue Monday, doesn’t mean it has to end with that mentality. You may also be surprised with how the benefits carry through into your morning tomorrow!
- Reconnect With Friends & Family
We’re all guilty of being a bit too busy these days. As a result, weeks and months can slip by without seeing certain friends or family members. Use today as a great excuse to reach out and check in with them. Simply send a message or pick up the phone at lunch or after work. If you find that you don’t have the time to dedicate to meaningful conversations today, you could still send a message that says: ‘Hey! I can’t believe how long it’s been since we caught up. I’m on deadline with work this week but would love to get a date in the diary to catch up face to face. When would be good for you?’ Now you’ve brightened their day and have something to look forward to.
Of course, Blue Monday is also an opportunity to highlight the more serious side of mental health, particularly feeling depressed, anxious and lonely. There are many charities doing incredible work to raise awareness of this and provide immediate support for anyone feeling helpless.
To list but a few in the UK:
Mind Charity: https://www.mind.org.uk/
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
The Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/
Heads Together: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/
Time To Change: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/