Back in 2005, a man named Cliff Arnall developed a formula for working out the most depressing day of the year.
Taking account of factors including the weather, debt levels, time since the holidays, low motivational levels, and the time since failing New Year’s Resolutions, Arnall designated the third Monday in January as ‘Blue Monday’.
If your bank account feels under pressure, the weather is terrible, or you just feel glum after being back at work for a couple of weeks, problems could come to a head on 16th January – this year’s Blue Monday.
However, this day need not get you down. Keep reading for five easy ways that you can tackle the most depressing day of 2017.
5 things you can do to beat Blue Monday
- Do some exercise
Factors that contribute towards Blue Monday include a lack of motivation and the feeling of a need to take charge of your situation. One of the easy ways to deal with these feelings is to do some aerobic exercise.
Any exercise that you enjoy – cycling, swimming or running – boosts endorphins, which will leave you calmer and happier.
Even a walk with friends can help. A study by Edge Hill University found that group walks were associated with significantly lower depression and negative feelings. The research found that a walk helped enhance a positive outlook and your mental wellbeing.
- Do something fun on the day
Feeling down in the dumps after the excitement of the holiday season is completely normal. So, tackle Blue Monday by arranging something fun and enjoyable.
Head out in the daytime for a short while to take advantage of the daylight. Natural light helps stabilise serotonin and triggers endorphins, leading to positive effects.
Or, book a trip to the cinema, meet a friend, or just do something you enjoy. Even a long bath, a good book and an evening of relaxation can work wonders.
- Make sure you have money saved
Money worries are some of the major reasons that people feel depressed in January. The holiday season is often an expensive time, and with a week or two until payday, your finances might be stretched to breaking point at this time of year.
Taking the step to get your finances in order can help you to avoid this issue in future years. By starting saving regularly – even a small amount each month – you can build up a lump sum of money that can be accessed in the event of an emergency in future years.
Take action now to give yourself the peace of mind that you have some savings available in the future if you need them.
- Do something unselfish
The Daily Telegraph reports that there is a growing body of research that links unselfish behaviour with a greater sense of wellbeing.
This Monday, why not offer someone a genuine compliment, do a good deed, or make a donation to a charity? Altruism can lead to improved health.
- Accomplish one thing
Even by mid-January you might have fallen foul of one of your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you haven’t eaten as healthily as you might have liked? Have you had a drink when you promised yourself that you wouldn’t? Or is that gym membership already looking like a mistake?
Use Blue Monday to kick-start your motivation. Don’t get depressed: instead try to make a conscious effort to accomplish one thing. Do some exercise. Apply for that job you’ve been thinking about. Cook a healthy meal.
By completing a task you want to achieve, you’ll improve your motivation levels and be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment.