What and when is “Blue Monday”?
Today marks “Blue Monday” 2019 – the most depressing day of the year. In 2005, UK-based psychologist Dr. Arnall coined the term “Blue Monday” to describe the third Monday in January: where bad weather, post-Christmas debt, missing spending time with loved ones at festive gatherings, Monday blues and breaking our New Year’s resolutions align in a particularly gloomy way. Whilst this is undermined slightly by the fact Arnall was commissioned to find the saddest day of the year for Sky Travel (to help push their ‘blues-beating’ holidays), it’s undeniable that January is a pretty crap month (sorry, January kids). And it would irresponsible to attempt dry January in light of this.
According to some of the latest statistics from Google, one person searches ‘depression’ every two seconds in the UK (different people, not just a very committed individual). So, below are five top tips to make your “Blue Monday” a little less blue.
How to tackle the January blues
Take a stroll (preferably in the countryside or a park)
Exercise is well known to lift your spirits and generally improve both your mental and physical health. Amazingly, according to some recent studies in Asia, spending time in wooded areas not only reduces your feelings of stress, but lowers your blood pressure.
Drink a MODERATE amount of coffee
While excessive amounts of caffeine can increase anxiety and irritability (put that double espresso down), a moderate amount stimulates the release of dopamine which helps to improve your mood.
Give a helping hand
Helping others can not only put your problems into perspective, but actively makes you feel happier and more resilient. Whether it’s volunteering for the team coffee run, doing somebody a favour or giving up your seat to somebody that needs it more than you, it’s bound to lift your spirits.
Focus on the positives
Get off social media and actively consider what is good about your life – perhaps even write a list if it helps you think. Also try to be mindful and notice the little things, whether it’s appreciating the crisp and sunny winter weather, or a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day.
Light a scented candle
Burning a scented candle (maybe that one you got for Christmas from the person that didn’t know what to get you?) can reduce anxiety and aid improved sleep, which in turns helps mood. Some scents are particularly helpful, for example: lavender, orange/orange blossom, sandalwood – or if you’re one of The Three Wise Men who has lost your purpose for another year – Frankincense (genuinely).
We hope the above help to lift your spirits and make your “Blue Monday” a little less blue. If you’re really struggling, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. Equally, if you’re more comfortable texting, you can message 85258 (in the UK) anonymously for free and a trained crisis worker will text you back immediately and talk to you until you feel a bit better – there is no shame in reaching out for help when you need it. Chin up and bring on Spring!