Now that the Christmas holidays are over, along with the excitement of resting and spending time with family and friends and our resolutions for this new year, many of us are faced with Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is known as Blue Monday because it is considered the saddest day of the year. This concept was created in 2005 by British psychologist Cliff Arnall, who developed a mathematical formula to calculate the most depressing day of the year. His calculation takes into account factors such as weather, holiday spending, salary, motivation, and lack of physical activity to determine the most depressing day of the year.
As later came to light, this day was more the result of an excellent marketing campaign than of a scientifically proven equation. So much was confessed by Cliff Arnall himself, who acknowledged receiving money from the Sky Travel company as part of a campaign to turn around its disastrous sales situation in January 2004. While that was twenty years ago now, every year we continue to mistakenly fall into the idea that if January is hard, there’s nothing you can do to make that third Monday of the month any less than a day of dreary drudgery.
Tips for starting the year on a good foot
Although the science behind Blue Monday is questionable, it is true that many people do feel less cheerful in January. After the Christmas holidays, returning to routine can be difficult. The cold, dark weather also doesn’t help, and many people also have to deal with the consequences of excessive holiday spending at this time of year.
But not everything is lost. The good thing is that things can only get better! There are many things we can do to help get us through Blue Monday and feel better in January. There is still time to adjust our resolutions and take better care of ourselves in order to emerge victorious from the first month of the year!
- Physical exercise: While this is a classic resolution for the new year, it is important to adjust any activity to our needs and ground ourselves to make it more realistic. Many people set unattainable goals to start the year and gradually become discouraged and frustrated when they realize that this year will not be their great year of fitness. But we often forget to find a reason or a goal that really motivates us. The reality is that, whether you want to be very fit or not, it’s clearly essential to move and be active for your health. If you are one of those people who find it hard to make the decision to exercise, think about your health and decide to at least go for a brisk walk or dedicate at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to your well-being. Exercise is an excellent way of improving your mood. Even a short walk can help reduce anxiety and increase energy. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, try doing some exercises at home or in the office that keep you active and make you feel good about yourself and your well-being.
- A healthy diet: A healthy diet is essential for maintaining good mental health. Try to reduce the consumption of processed foods and refined sugars. Instead, choose fresh and healthy foods, such as fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. It’s very important to listen to your body and see what suits you best and avoid what doesn’t feel so good. Adapt your meal planning to include things like feeling better and avoiding discomfort such as heavy digestion, heartburn and intolerances that can affect your mental health and sleep.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water is vital and can help improve your mood, reduce your stress and provide benefits to your whole body, including aiding digestion, circulation, and your brain and nervous system.
- Get enough rest: This is a point that cannot be stressed enough. Getting enough sleep is important to maintain good mental health and feel good both physically and mentally. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night and establish a regular sleep routine. If you have trouble sleeping, try to reduce exposure to artificial light before going to bed, eat dinner early and not in excessive quantities, or use herbal teas to help you sleep better. Teas such as lemon balm or passionflower are great options.
- Keep in touch with friends and family, but don’t overdo it. Social connection is important for our mental health. Try to spend quality time with friends and family, even if it’s just to talk over the phone or send text messages. If you feel alone, consider joining a support group or taking part in some kind of social activity. Just be careful not to fill your calendar with more social activities than you can handle, as this can lead to exhaustion and stress. As with everything in life, moderation and balance are key. Find a middle ground that works for you and, above all, enjoy quality plans and moments with your loved ones, but also listen to your personal needs.
- Practice gratitude: This classic tip is very simple, but often overlooked. Feeling grateful for all the good things you have in life, no matter how small, is a powerful tool to improve your mood. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. You can do this in the morning while eating breakfast or taking a shower or even on your way to work. They can be small things, like a nice cup of hot coffee or a kind smile from a stranger.
- Meditation and mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness are techniques that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Spend a few minutes every day to meditate or practice full attention. There are many online apps and videos that can help you get started.
- Plan leisure activities: Planning fun activities can help improve your mood too. If you’re feeling a little discouraged, you can try planning a weekend getaway, organizing your next vacation, going to the movies or attending a concert. Even something as simple as reading a book or watching a movie on a day you’re feeling a bit discouraged can help you feel better.
- Seek professional help: If you feel overwhelmed or depressed, consider looking for professional help. A therapist can help you develop strategies to manage stress and anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
In conclusion, January can be a difficult month for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many things we can do to improve our mood this month. There are many strategies that we can use to overcome stress. It’s important to remember that the sooner we start to take care of ourselves and listen to one another, the better our year will get.
It’s normal to go through moments of sadness, whether in January or at any time of the year. In the end, we mustn’t forget that sadness is a natural emotion and it’s normal to feel it at some point during the year. But, if all these tips and activities make you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t feel like you need to follow each and every one of them. If there is something vital to keep in mind for this year and all others, it is to take a step back from perfectionism when it comes to achieving your new year’s resolutions. Being flexible and kind to ourselves is almost as important as all the fine resolutions we might want to adopt. Simply implement small changes or habits that will help us start the new year in better health.