Although it is not an officially recognised awareness day, Blue Monday usually falls on the third Monday of January (the 20th this year). According to life coach and psychologist Cliff Arnall, this day highlights a mood drop that some feel during the first month of the year due to a mix of things such as post-Christmas credit card bills, lack of daylight hours and the end of festivities. If you are feeling the effects of January Blues this month and want to pull yourself through to a positive mindset, our ideas guide for Blue Monday and beyond may help.
Having moments where endorphins run high is important for your mood and there’s no better way to kickstart them than to get moving. Endorphins can also be activated when a to do list is ticked off. You may not think that January is a good time to garden but there are many jobs that can be done to prepare for spring. The garden is also a great place to start when you want to activate both the physical and organisational aspects to a good mood.
- Do some ‘plant-admin’ and organise what you’ll be planting this spring and look after any house plants you have. Planning a project will also keep your mind active and happier
- Along with gardening, getting any filing sorted, storing items properly and straightening out neglected cupboards is a great way to start the year right
Never underestimate the effects on your mood when you do not get enough Vitamin D. Many of us wake up before the sun rises and come home from work in the dark during the winter months, but there are ways to top up your daylight hours.
- Take a walk at lunch time and if you work in an office try to aim for parks or allotments as they can lift your spirits more than a city walk.
- Invest in a wake-up light alarm clock to ‘fake’ natural daylight in the mornings
- Get out and about as much as you can during your days off. Winter sunshine can be stunning and is a real mood lifter
December may have been quite hectic for you, between organising the family and shopping for gifts some of us are feeling quite frazzled now. If you fell into this category you may prefer to relax and enjoy the downtime this month and we do not blame you! Make sure you get some time for you.
- Try something new on TV. There are so many amazing TV shows on various streaming services now, why not watch something that looks interesting or search for a show you wouldn’t usually watch
- Start a new skincare routine. It’s a new year which means it’s the perfect time to change old habits and take stock of what works for you and what doesn’t
After you have relaxed and enjoyed some downtime you may want to fill up your schedule again with social events. Unfortunately, after the festive period, diaries can look a little empty. After Christmas there are no more merry drinks with old friends and those with children at University may have an empty house again. January can feel a little flat, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had.
- Schedule to meet with those you couldn’t reserve time for last month. They’ll be glad to have something in the diary, too
- Book a holiday or a little break during the winter, this will give you something to look forward to. If you’re not able, then plan something for later in the year and start a countdown
- Take up a new hobby. We’re not talking about making resolutions because they can be too hard to stick to, but booking something like a pottery class or finding a good YouTube yoga tutor will cheer up the start of your year and won’t be too much commitment
- Invest in a new painting or piece of wall art to brighten up your home
- Create and cook. Many people go Vegan during January for Veganuary but if that isn’t for you, experimenting with Vegan recipes can be good fun. Going alcohol free this month for Dry January? Create some fun mocktails at home and try new things
January needn’t be filled with doom and gloom, just because the festivities are over doesn’t mean you should feel blue. Make some plans for the winter and get creative. January should be a time for new beginnings and having a positive outlook on what you can make of the upcoming year. Make some time for you if you’re feeling frazzled from Christmas and schedule some fun exciting activities if you’re feeling flat this month. Also, if you find a few things that work, why not put them into practice when you are feeling a bit low and just need a quick pick-me-up, your mental health needs caring for all year round!
Note: If you are feeling low for longer than a few days, you should visit your GP.
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