Is Blue Monday a Myth?
Blue Monday is indeed a myth which was originally created as a PR stunt to sell holidays in January. Whilst there is no science to back up that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year, we have to agree it is a bit gloomy. The day is filled with controversy for being the saddest day of the year with people feeling the strain of post-Christmas credit card bills, bleak weather and thinking of breaking our new year’s resolutions.
However, perhaps Blue Monday is a day for some self-reflection and increased awareness around Mental Health issues. In fact, maybe we can make the 16th of January 2023 a day for self-care and some positivity with some tips that we wanted to share on how to boost your spirits and beat Blue Monday!
8 ways to cope with Blue Monday
1. Have something to look forward to
Research shows that having something to look forward to improves your mood and makes you more hopeful. Beating Blue Monday could include things like planning your next holiday, having a self-care day or going to the cinema with friends. Planning for something in your future can serve as a good talking point and in the dead of winter give you something exciting to look forward to. Not only that but it will help to improve your serotonin levels and ease anxiety and depression.
2. Get moving
In mid-January, you will probably not be in the mood to exercise and may even be considering breaking your New Year’s resolutions as Blue Monday approaches. However, physical activity is a very good way to lift your mood and outdoor exercise has been proven to be an effective anti-depressant and will help improve your Mental Health. So by exercising you can help to improve your physical and mental well-being.
This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym; you could go on walks with friends or colleagues and you could maybe do some yoga classes or practise mindfulness exercises at home.
3. Healthy eating
After all the festive season chocolate eating, comfort carbohydrates and drinking alcohol, it might be time to look at a balanced healthy diet to help reduce your anxiety levels. A good diet is not only beneficial for your physical health but your Mental Health too and won’t leave you feeling down on Blue Monday.
So try and include some fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fatty oils such as omega 3 and 6. Try to avoid stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol. You will not only feel better after eating a healthy diet, but remember a good night’s sleep is also important for your Mental Health too.
4. Start a hobby
By starting a creative activity like a hobby, it can help you to switch off from the daily pressures of life and give you an opportunity to turn negative thoughts into positive feelings. For example, joining an art class or taking a photographic course can help you switch off from the day-to-day pressures and will also help you to socialise and mix with other people. Whatever you decide to do, it will be good for your Mental Health and happiness to start something new and creative.
5. Get some training
With Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) becoming more prevalent after the holidays, returning to work and studies can leave you feeling demotivated and sluggish. It is a good idea to use the 16th of January as a day to increase your awareness of Mental Health issues and look at the self-care programs which your work offers.
If you are looking for Mental Health training for your business Cross Counties Training can assist with the following courses:
- First Aid Awareness for Mental Health – This Level 2 certified course helps introduce the risks and warning signs of Mental Health and teaches the importance of early intervention. (6 hours)
- Supervisor First Aid for Mental Health – This Level 3 certified course covers a wider range of Mental Health conditions. The course is suitable for all persons who hold a supervisory/managerial level position and are responsible for implementing Mental Health in the workplace. (12 hours)
6. Light up your life
January is a particularly gloomy month and often we travel to and from work in the dark which contributes to low feelings on Blue Monday. Try and schedule some time at lunchtime or during a work break to go for a walk to get some natural light and some fresh air.
You can also consider a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp, also known as a therapy lamp, which replaces the light that you would normally see in the summer. These clever lamps boost your mood and help you to beat the winter blues. Maybe also investigate taking a vitamin D supplement to help with energy levels and tiredness.
You can also change the environment in your home with some candles which can also help to improve your mood. The scent of candles can help to calm and relax your mind and they are helpful in cases of anxiety or depression as they can make you feel more positive and happier.
7. Mix things up
Another way to help you to improve your mood in January is to change your environment on Blue Monday. Maybe consider moving some furniture around, getting a new picture for your wall, updating some home accessories, or buying some flowers. By changing things up and maybe moving your desk closer to a window at home you can not only increase your productivity but also improve your mood.
8. Catch up with friends and family
By spending time with others, especially your loved ones, you will have positive emotions linked to good health and this will make you feel happier on Blue Monday. This does not mean you have to go out every night, you can catch up with friends and family on a Zoom call or even just a phone call. This human interaction will lead to you feeling less stressed and will increase your motivation levels as well.
Wrapping it all up
We hope that these tips help you find some simple solutions which aren’t too complicated to try and implement to make Blue Monday a good day. However, we also want to highlight again that Mental Health should matter on every day of the year, not just the third Monday in January. Mental Health issues also last for more than a day and affect people in different ways and at different times of the year. Depression, anxiety and other Mental Health problems should not be trivialised and should involve solutions for prevention.