Today – the third Monday of January, dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ – is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. So if you’ve woken up feeling particularly glum this morning, rest assured you’re not alone – dull weather, debts, and failing New Year’s resolutions have the whole nation feeling down. But Blue Monday doesn’t have to be slog of self-pity, here’s what you can do to combat it…
Treat Yourself To A Nice Lunch (Or Dinner)
Forget the sandwich you dutifully prepped at home that’s now lying in wait for you in the work fridge, or the leftovers from last night’s dinner you planned to heat on your return, this is the most depressing day of the year you’re trying to get through here, so make or buy something you actually want to eat for lunch and dinner.
Need some inspiration? Why not try out one of our favourite recipes?
Use It As An Exercise In Positive Thinking
All those wellbeing tips you read about, but never get around to actually doing? Why not try one now at your desk? Practices like jotting down a list of things you’re grateful for or silently affirming your best qualities can be done without drawing attention to yourself. As can taking a five-minute breather to clear your head.
After work, book a last-minute yoga or Pilates class, or if you’re not near any gym studios, videos like Yoga with Adriene are free to watch on YouTube so you can practice your Warrior II in the comfort of your own home. Then, soak in a hot bath with candles, salts, a podcast – the lot. Finally, go to bed earlier than usual in a dark room with no technology close to your bed. There – multiple wellbeing practices packed into one day.
Find A Last-Minute Bargain
One of the main factors in Blue Monday is that it typically falls when we’re financially poor – but sale shopping doesn’t have to be a big blowout. And when you shop online, in particular, your brain releases dopamine – a chemical that enables you to acknowledge a reward.
“Many people think that dopamine is released when the brain receives a reward,” explains psychologist Susan Weinschenk, “but dopamine is actually released in anticipation of a reward.” It’s this anticipation that makes shopping from your desk more exciting than visiting the stores. Whether your budget for a spontaneous purchase is better suited to Net-a-Porter or Topshop is yours to decide, but if buying something small could cheer you up, there’s scientific proof you should.
Make Plans To Socialise
Not all after-work plans have to involve drinking, so if you or your friends are still committed to dry January (17 days to go… not that we’re counting) don’t let it stop you meeting up and having fun. From trying a new smoothie bar or gym class together to hunkering down in the cinema, make a plan now that’ll give you something to look forward to throughout the day.
Alternatively, book something to enjoy in the future. You could book a ticket to the Winter Happiness Festival, for example, which is running for two weeks from 20th of January at London’s Museum of Happiness in Camden. Tickets are just £5 and the programme boasts inspiring talks, laughter yoga, live music and an adult ball pit.
Book The Afternoon Off Work
Holiday days are precious, we know, but sometimes needs must. If your job is the kind where you’re able to get away with reading this at your desk, there’s a fair chance you’ll be able to book some last-minute holiday for the afternoon too – or at least claim a last-minute dentist appointment (come on, we’ve all done it). Most of the time we savour our holiday days for when we really have plans, from trips abroad to life admin that desperately needs to be done, but when was the last time you took a day off just to enjoy it by yourself?
“Taking a little time for yourself refreshes and re-energises you. It allows you to think more clearly and make better decisions,” writes blogger Fawne Hansen, who began writing about Adrenal Fatigue after experiencing a long period of stress. “Taking ‘me time’ also builds your self-esteem over time, as you come to realise that you are important and deserve to have a little time to yourself,” she explains. It doesn’t matter if you can’t convince a friend to join you, look up what’s on in your town or city, or go and sit in a café you like with a good book.