The third Monday of January is named Blue Monday to identify it as, supposedly, the most depressing day in the UK.
We’ve been led to believe that a combination of the festive season coming to an end, cold Winter weather, feeling stretched financially and inadequate if we don’t stick to our New Year resolutions can result in us feeling low and unmotivated.
Whilst there’s little evidence to back up the Blue Monday theory, there is evidence to suggest that the travel industry created the idea to encourage us all to book our summer holidays early.
It’s also true that we get, see and feel more of what we pay attention to. So if we hear enough ‘noise’ about Blue Monday and talk about it all of the time, we’ll notice our mood start to dip. Or as Tony Robbins says,
‘Energy flows where attention goes.”
More importantly, feeling overwhelmed, anxious and mentally low can occur at any time of the year and will impact not only you but your loved ones too.
If the above resonates with you, it’s essential to focus on self-care, taking small positive steps to create healthy habits and bring joy back into your life; I like to think of it as a personal MOT.
Here are some suggestions of actions I take to keep my mental health in check.
- Find a new book to read
- Find a new podcast, audiobook or music playlist to listen to.
- Visit a new gallery, museum or park.
Audit your media consumption
- Review your social media feeds – are they full of people who energise you or drain you.
- Review (and reduce) the amount of news you consume
Get out in nature
- to improve your mood.
- to help you be in the present,
- to reduce feelings of stress or anxiety
- to help you take time out and feel more relaxed.
- to improve your physical health and help you be more active.
- Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and do more of it. Between 3 – 5 sessions of exercise lasting around 45 minutes is optimal for maintaining good mental health.
- Remember, it doesn’t need to be going to the gym, running or signing up for an iron man; it could be a walk with your dog (or you could borrow some else’s dog)
Make plans for the future
- a holiday
- a mini-bucket list of big and small things to complete in the coming year
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and struggling to get off the ‘busyness treadmill’, read my post on ‘Pausing to review and plan‘, where I share my tips for giving you the space to take a step back from the daily to-do list.