What is Blue Monday?
Landing on the third Monday of January each year, ‘Blue Monday’ is not so affectionately known as ‘the saddest day of the year’. 16th January 2023, we’re looking at you.
Thanks to broken new year's resolutions, diminished Christmas bank balances, general winter colds and low levels of daylight - it’s not hard to imagine why we might be feeling low at this time of year. But it’s not strictly scientific - the term ‘Blue Monday’ only found its way into our vocabulary following a PR stunt by a travel company in 2005. So whilst we may not be thinking of jetting off on holiday this year, here’s our roundup of feel-good tips to try this Blue Monday.
How To Boost Your Mood This Blue Monday (and beyond!)
By investing pockets of time to look after yourself, you can top up your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing to help counteract shifting moods.
Feeling Down? Let in the light.
With darker days and dropped exposure to sunlight, we can experience seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, with symptoms including a persistent low mood, lack of energy, and trouble getting up after sleeping. The body can struggle to produce sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and serotonin levels dip. So stepping out into the daylight for even short periods of time can help.
Whilst the shorter days can affect our mood, appetite and sleep, CBD can help to restore your body’s natural balance since CBD works in harmony with your endocannabinoid system to support a restful night’s sleep and other essential bodily functions inducing mood.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Step away from the phone.
Constant connectivity can leave us feeling overworked and overwhelmed with obligations. A digital detox can mean more than simply reducing screen time. By taking away the need to constantly check emails and notifications, we can dedicate a short period of time to focus on real-life interactions without feeling as if someone is checking up on us. Cue a semblance of stepping away to find work-life balance, which can be hard to achieve especially if working from home.
To achieve a daily digital detox, try to pick a time after the working day to completely switch off your devices. With time, we can start to let go of the FOMO (fear of missing out) and re-train ourselves from automatically reaching for our phones. Not only that, avoiding the use of any screened devices in the evening means you'll absorb less blue light: a type of light emitted from screens which is known to cause a disturbance with our sleep regulating hormone, melatonin.
Feeling Stressed? Practice peaceful evenings.
Feeling stressed is magnified when we are tired. We're irritable, can't think straight, and the simplest of tasks start to feel like we need to climb Mount Everest. One of the best ways to ensure you are able to manage your stress and anxiety levels better is to ensure a good nights sleep, and that process should actually start an hour or two before bed time. Set a routine that really helps you unwind from the day. Check out our anxiety-busting evening routine here.
Feeling Lethargic? Try to get your body moving.
By releasing feel-good endorphin hormones, exercise can help to lift a low mood.
If sweating it out in a gruelling HIIT workout feels like the furthest thing from what you feel like doing, even a brisk walk outside can help to remove you from a stressful situation. Take this time to practice a mindfulness technique for a distraction from any unwelcome thoughts.
Downloading a meditation app like Calm or Headspace can help you tune into a short audio exercise, or counting every tree or dog you pass can help pull you into the present moment.
Self Care Matters
It might feel counterintuitive to take time out for yourself from a busy schedule, especially if your to-do list is the source of stress. Health coach Sam Hadadi explains that knowing the outcome will improve your overall state of well-being, and helps to validate the process. Think of it like this;
“I might be taking this moment for myself but I’m going to be a better mum for it (or partner or friend). I may be more energised or focussed at work in the long run by taking time for myself”.