Blue Monday is a term that has been popularised to describe the third Monday of January, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year. The Christmas joy feels like a distant memory, the days are gloomy and dark and we’re all left broke and desperately waiting for January pay day. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that this specific day is actually any more depressing than any other day of the year.
That being said, the start of a new year can be a difficult time for many people. The excitement and optimism of the new year may have given way to feelings of disappointment and let-down, and the pressure to make and maintain New Year's resolutions can create false feelings of failure and low self-esteem.
So what can we do to try and combat those January blues as we patiently wait for the days to get longer and the sun to make its appearance again?
How to Combat Blue Monday
If you are feeling down, there are several things you can do to overcome Blue Monday and improve your mood:
1. Exercise regularly.
Physical activity releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. This doesn’t mean just go to the gym – that’s not for everyone. But find an activity that you enjoy. Running, dancing, hiking, hula-hooping… whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t have to be outside.
2. Eat a healthy diet.
Consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can improve your overall physical and mental well-being. It provides the body with the necessary nutrients to function properly. When the body is properly nourished, it can help to improve mood, energy levels, and cognitive function.
3. Get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can negatively affect your mood, energy levels, and ability to handle stress. Of course, we all know how grumpy we can get on just a few hours of sleep. Try to make sure you’re well rested and ready to take on your day, even if that means one less episode on Netflix of an evening…
4. Spend time with loved ones.
Connecting with others and participating in social activities can boost your mood and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Whether it’s friends or family, do something with the people you want to be around.
5. Try contributing to others.
You could try volunteering, visiting and talking to elderly people, offering to help those in need, etc. Helping others can be a great way to boost your own mood and improve your own well-being. But if you don’t fancy being around too many people, try volunteering at an animal shelter. Countless studies have shown an increased mood when spending time with animals. Some of our team are already booking in some volunteering time as part of our 100 Hours campaign – 100 hours, paid, outside of our team’s holiday allowance, to give back to our community.
6. Seek professional help if needed.
If you are struggling with a persistent feeling of low mood, you could be suffering from depression or other mental health issues. Don’t panic, and know that it’s okay if that is the case. There’s no shame in asking for some help, and when depression or other mental health issues do crop up in someone’s life, it’s important to seek help from a qualified professional. The best thing to do is to talk to your GP for some advice or head straight to charities like Mind Mental Health for guidance on what direction to take.
It's important to remember that everyone goes through difficult times and feelings of sadness and depression is a normal part of the human experience. By taking care of yourself and reaching out for support when needed, you can overcome Blue Monday and improve your mood. And the best part is, once you’re equipped with the tools to tackle those feelings, you’ve got them for life.
And don’t worry, January doesn’t last forever…