Welcome to what has been acclaimed as ‘the most depressing day of the year’ – Blue Monday.
Today is the day where we are meant to feel worse than any other – the weather, our bank balance, excess weight from Christmas, a lack of social life, new year’s resolutions that hardly got out of the starting blocks. The list goes on.
As someone who has studied psychology and have had people close to me suffer from serious depression, I am always cautious of the term being bandied about and it seems I am not alone. The Bromley and Lewisham branch of Mind say “January can be challenging for many people due to financial strains and weather but there is no credible evidence to say that one day in particular, such as the mythical ‘Blue Monday’, is the most depressing.”
We all know that the drizzle and general gloom of January can be a bit dampening on spirits and although many of us would love to go somewhere hot for the entirety, financial constraints, school, work etc., mean that isn’t always practical.
So, what can we do to lift our mood in January? These are my suggestions:
Spending time outside – and even better in nature – can have a significant impact on your mood. Research at Stanford University found that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression.
There is so much literature about the benefits about being outside – even a 10-minute stroll around your local park can make you feel a lot better. I am lucky enough to live next to a park and can be seen doing laps at various points in the day, whatever the weather. It really does make you feel better (and you get to meet lots of your neighbours which is an added bonus).
Helen, the brilliant founder of Mummy’s Gin Fund, was onto something when she booked the Scummy Mummies for the Christmas party – they are hilarious. Even their Instagram posts make me laugh (easily pleased). Find your sweet spot and that thing that makes you laugh – it might be those old photos (thank God I am so old that none of them are on social media), speaking to a friend on the phone or listening to a podcast. Bring some laughter into your days, every day.
I work for myself from home and have 2 small children; my opportunities for social meet ups aren’t quite as regular as they used to be BUT I plan interaction with friends every day ranging from coffees to chats on skype to nights out until 2am drinking prosecco (that was once in the last 6 months!). Human connection is important. Ideally in person, I often find I get a lot of laughter out of my meet ups too.
As someone who gives talks on how to build a business on social media this may sound a bit counter intuitive but I am going to tell you anyway. Put down everything electronic – phone, laptop, tablet, TV, watch and have a break from it all at least once a week. Have a curfew and clear all of these devices out of your bedroom; you will sleep better and you will feel better.
Do something you enjoy every single day
What do you love doing? What makes you happy? I love scuba diving and travelling – these are harder to do every day BUT I also love reading and yoga which I can easily do every day for a short amount of time. Focus on whatever brings you joy and makes you happy!
*If you are showing any signs of depression or you have had a low mood for a considerable period of time go and see your GP or speak to a charity such as Mind or The Samaritans. Mental illness is an illness – you are not alone.
Ruth Kudzi is a Business coach and mindset coach with a MA in Psychology. These suggestions are based on her knowledge and personal experience.
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