Blue Monday has, in recent years, been renowned to be the most depressing day of the year.
The memories of the festive period have faded away, our bank accounts are looking rather desolate after months of Christmas shopping, the “holiday weight” has not quite shifted, the weather is typically dark and gloomy and we are all back at work with a bang.
So the third Monday of January as been dubbed as Blue Monday for some time.
However the man who coined the the term “Blue Monday,” Dr Cliff Arnall, had no intention for this day to become one that sounds so negative. His intention was for this day to be one to inspire people to take action, to have a positive outlook in life and to make bold life decisions.
As someone who has battled in the past with depression and anxiety I can’t help but agree with Dr Arnall. How has a day that was intended to bring out a positive outlook transitioned into one that encourages depressive thoughts?
Personally, I have had far too many blue days of late. When the New Year came around all I felt was positivity and hope. That is not to say I have not had blue days in 2018, I have – you cannot control the people and external factors that bring you down. What you can do is continue to look forward, forget those that are bringing you down and have a positive outlook for the year ahead.
In the hope to inspire others and to turn this “Blue Monday” around I encourage everyone with my own tips to keep the bluest at bay.
Book a holiday
Nothing beats the blues more than knowing you are soon to be jetting away. The lead up to the festive season is usually so draining for numerous reasons, it is no wonder we start the New Year utterly exhausted. For many years now, I have always taken advantage of the summer sale or Black Friday deals to book a short break away. Previous years have seen me venture to Istanbul, Paris and Dublin at the end of January or beginning of February. This year is no exception, I will be flying away to Boston. I always find having something booked and therefore something to focus on helps me get through the dark, gloomy January days.
It goes without saying that being active and keeping fit leads to a better state of mind. The release of endorphins are a natural mood lifter and being active will help shift those extra pounds gained over the festive period. As someone that has always been an advocate for exercise for mental wellbeing I have spent the last few weeks picking the training plan back up, pushing myself just that little further. And there is nothing like the New Year to try something new, so try a new class at the gym. This January I will be trying out a Bounce class!
With so many gloomy days in the Winter it is inevitable that our moods will suffer from the lack of Vitamin D. So come rain, come shine – get outdoors. Use your lunch break to get some fresh air – being stuck in a office all day long with artificial lighting does no one any good. Use the weekends to complete longer walks! I often find I enjoy a walk that involves following a river or lake path. If you live near the coast, go for a coastal walk. You will find that you will feel better and sleep better for it.
Use this time to catch up with friends and family. Make plans for the year ahead. Is there a race you want to enter, is there something on your bucket list you have been meaning to tick off? Use this time to focus on what you want to achieve this coming year. In the last few weeks I have certainly been making full use of my time; catching up with loved ones I did not have the chance to see over the festive break, visiting the Winnie the Pooh exhibition at the V&A, planning my race schedule for the year ahead and even taking my Niece and Nephew out for their Christmas adventure at Go Ape. You will find the more you plan the less time you have to think about those things that bring you down.
Life is short. Be grateful that you have it. Love it, respect it, live it.
Don’t Look Back
You are not going back to don’t look that way. You cannot change the past, so there is no point dwelling on it. Not only will this bring you down, but it will also prevent you looking forward. Don’t forget the past, but let go of anything or anyone that has caused you hurt and distress. Keeping hold of bad feelings doesn’t do anyone any good.
Don’t let Blue Monday bring you down.
Instead be inspired, be forward thinking, be positive!