“Blue Monday”, usually falls on the third Monday of January. It’s often dubbed by the press the “most depressing day of the year.”
The scientific validity of this claim is debatable – in fact, the concept comes from a travel company, who later admitted you should probably ‘ignore’ the study. 
This alone could make you feel better about the day, but there’s no denying that the post-holiday season can take a toll on our well-being. Lack of sunlight, post-Christmas detoxes and a need to pinch in finances can get some people feeling blue. Instead of succumbing to the gloom, let’s explore effective ways to combat it and boost our mood. Here is our guide to battling “Blue Monday”.
Get yourself out in the daylight
As the days grow shorter, exposure to natural light reduces and some people can suffer from a lack of vitamin D and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). To tackle this, you could try:
- Opening your curtains wide during the day
- Taking short walks outdoors
- Taking vitamin D supplements
- Consider investing in a light therapy lamp. These lamps mimic natural sunlight and can help regulate your circadian rhythm, promoting a better mood and quality of sleep.
Before you try a SAD lamp, ask your GP if it’s right for you. The lamps are very bright and may not be suitable for those with certain conditions, such as light sensitivity, eye damage, and bipolar affective disorder, as well as people on certain medications.
Exercise can be a great mood enhancer. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifting hormones like dopamine. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a dance class, or a gym session, find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine. Check out some of our fitness blogs for inspiration here.
Reach out to friends and family
In 2021, 7,2% of adults in the UK said they ‘often or always’ felt lonely. Social connections can be vital for our mental health. If you feel down, reach out to friends, family, or colleagues, and have a chat. Consider organising a virtual get-together if in-person meetings are not feasible. Connecting with others provides support and can alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation can help calm the mind and reduce stress. Mindfulness involves focusing on the current moment through practices such as meditation, breathing, and yoga. This enhances our awareness of thoughts and emotions, allowing us to effectively manage them rather than feeling overwhelmed.  Dedicate a few minutes each day to mindful breathing or guided meditation. Apps such as Headspace and Calm and other online resources offer a variety of sessions catering to different preferences and experience levels.
Set Realistic Goals
The start of the year is usually when we bring in resolutions that involve depriving ourselves or ambitious goals. While it’s great to plan for personal growth, setting realistic and achievable goals can prevent setting yourself up for failure. Break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks, celebrating each accomplishment along the way. We have a blog on how to keep your New Year resolutions which can help with this right here.
Focusing on the positive aspects of life can shift your perspective. Keep a gratitude journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. Many benefits of gratitude also support heart health. Improving depression symptoms, sleep, diet and exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. This simple practice can foster a more positive mindset and remind you of the good things in your life, even during challenging times.
Indulge in Self-Care
Treat yourself with kindness and prioritise self-care. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a warm bath, or enjoying a hobby, allocate time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. After the demanding nature of looking after everyone else and hosting at Christmas, taking care of your well-being is essential for battling the winter blues.
Plan Exciting Activities
Combat the post Christmas slump by planning activities that excite you. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a new hobby, or attending events, having something to look forward to can break the routine and infuse positivity into your life!
While “Blue Monday” may cast a shadow over January, it’s essential to recognise the power we have to combat the blues. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can navigate the challenges of the season and emerge brighter. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s a vital component of maintaining mental and emotional well-being.