This year, the 17th of January is the “saddest day of the year,” also known as “Blue Monday.” Every third Monday in January, this depressing day rolls around and, after the excitement of Christmas and New Year, it may be difficult to shake the winter blues and get back into work full swing. Here are some ideas to survive the winter blues.
Where does the idea of Blue Monday come from?
Sky Travel, a British travel company, actually created the concept of “Blue Monday” as a PR stunt in 2005.
They cited psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall where he had a formula to describe the gloomiest and most depressing day of the year. The equation considers multiple factors such as the weather, people’s level of debt post-Christmas, people’s post-Christmas mood and keeping (or not) new year’s resolutions, lower motivation levels, and feeling a need to act.
But, in reality, what most people suffer from in January and February is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and not a single 24-hour day of a depressive slump. Take a look at our blog all about SAD and tips to improve your mood.
Here are some ways to get you through dark winter nights.
Practise meditation and mindfulness
Mindfulness and meditation are keywords that are often used to improve mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s characterised by being present in the moment. Meditation, on the other hand, is the umbrella term where people use techniques (one of which is mindfulness) to transform the mind, develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and calmness.
Meditation can be as simple as sitting for five minutes with a lovely cup of tea and being completely in the moment and in your thoughts or completing some yoga poses and being present in your body.
Meditation has been shown to increase neuroplasticity and stop the brain from ageing, so the winter is a good time to start the practice to improve your overall health and state of mind. With good meditation and mindfulness, you can overcome those winter blues.
Try cooking up new recipes
There’s nothing more healing than a good, nutritious meal, a cheeky cocktail, or a sweet treat. Trying new recipes can help combat winter blues with the comfort of food and drink – but make sure your diet is balanced as eating five different types of sugar as food groups won’t make you feel great!
Include short exercise and stretch routines in your day
Some people can’t function if they don’t get in an hour’s morning run and others scramble to the fridge when they hear the word “exercise.” But studies show that even five minutes a day of exercise can have profound benefits. Stretching, according to Harvard Medical School, helps keep your muscles strong, flexible, and healthy to maintain the range of motion in our joints as we age so it’s never too late to start your daily stretching and exercise regime.
You don’t have to think all or nothing when it comes to exercise and stretching. Some is better than none. Five minutes is better than none at all. It doesn’t have to be hours in the gym or twenty-five minutes of stretching to see benefits.
Here’s an excellent fifteen-minute full-body stretching video from Maddy Morrison for those days when you have the extra time.
And here’s a full-body ten-minute workout from The Body Coach, Joe Wicks, who kept many of us going throughout the first lockdown!
Moving your body with stretching and some exercise can help improve your mood and improve muscle tone, which will help you in the days leading up to spring.
Escape in a book or a hobby
Winter is also the perfect time to work on a hobby or escape in a book. The days are short and it’s a perfect time to curl up by the fire and get lost in a new tale or an old favourite. You may choose to read a book from your favourite author to meet your yearly reading challenge or try someone new. Whether you like to read classic literature, chick lit, detective stories, thrillers, horror, or anything in-between, there will be a book for you to get lost in this winter.
Alternatively, when you want a more active hobby and a break from reading, you can choose to try something like painting, pottery throwing, skipping rope, crocheting, embroidery, or even something such as visiting stately homes with friends and family.
Hobbies and reading can help shorten those darker days.
Declutter your life
There’s nothing more freeing than having fewer things – or only keeping those things that are functional, bring joy, and fit in your home.
Since there’re often fewer social events on in the winter, it’s the perfect time to sort, organise, tidy, and declutter your home. Then, in the year, you’ll have more time for what’s important in your life.
Check out our blog on packing away post-Christmas clutter, but these tips can be applied to many areas of your home long after Christmas.
Finally, a little pamper session can always serve as a pick-me-up to stave off winter blues.
If, for example, you’ve always wanted hair-free legs, now might be the time to start your Tria 4X laser treatment where you can remove hair in time for those busy days in summer.
Additionally, you may want to do simple things like work on your skincare with our Age-defying laser, try out some new makeup looks, paint your nails, try a new hairstyle, or take a bubble bath. Taking time for yourself in winter is important since glowing January skin will lead to glowing summer skin – and our skin is often drier in winter for many reasons.
Beat Blue Monday and winter seasonal affective disorder by keeping your mind and body healthy this winter via routines, pampering, and self-care. Do you plan to use any of our winter tips to chase off the winter blues? Let us know on social media what hobbies you like to do in winter and ways you take care of your mind and body when the days are darker.