Preparing for Blue Monday
January is probably the gloomiest of all the months: Christmas is over, everyone is back in work and summer feels like an age away. With dark days and long nights, it’s little wonder that the third Monday of January is coined ‘Blue Monday’.
Fear not: we’ve got some ideas that will help you make your Blue Monday more bearable. It’s all about being prepared…
Plan social activities
Ok, so it’s likely that you’re feeling strapped for cash after Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t book the time off work and start planning where you might like to take a holiday, or the night out you’d like to arrange with friends.
Get as much light as possible
One of the main reasons we feel so tired during the winter months is the lack of natural light, which causes your brain to create more melatonin. That means you should always aim to get as much natural light as you can, even if it’s only by going for a short walk during your lunchtime. Some people believe that having a SAD light (which mimics the natural light) can also help reduce this tiredness effect.
It’s a proven fact that exercise can help reduce your chances of depression by 30%. While it can be tempting to get straight under the duvet and put the telly on, try and do some light exercise instead. Why not invest in an exercise DVD, or cycle home one day a week?
While it’s tempting go for the easiest food option when you’re feeling tired, it’s important that you’re cooking yourself nice meals in the afternoon. That means allowing yourself some comfort food. Make it as healthy as possible, by piling n lots of vegetables, so you know you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need.
Connect with nature
This doesn’t mean having to go outside in the miserable weather. It could be that you go to your local pet rescue to visit some animals. It’s been proven that spending time with certain animals can improve your mood, so if you don’t have a pet, then consider ways you might be able to enjoy some time with one.
Having a little page-a-day calendar on your desk isn’t just a nice way to stay organised and keep track of events, it can also be quite liberating, tearing paper away day-after-day.
Print some quotes
Having some inspirational or amusing quotes around your desk is likely to bring a smile to your face when you’re feeling unmotivated. It also makes for a good talking point between you and your colleagues. This kind of social interaction can be another good way of boosting your mood.
Invest in music
Winter often brings chaos for commuters, whether on the road or travelling via public transport. One thing that can have a dramatic impact on your mood is music. Why not get yourself a decent pair of earphones for the bus journey or a new feel-good CD for the car? It’s sure to make your journey more bearable.
The above advice is sure to make an impact on your day-to-day happiness, but if you’re ever feeling like you can’t cope, it’s important to ring your GP to talk about how you feel. With one in three people suffering from seasonal affective disorder, you certainly aren’t on your own.
Benenden also has a range of mental health services for members suffering with anxiety and depression and other mental health concerns. Find out more about our Counselling Advice Line which is available for members to call 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
This article was first published on 15th January 2016.
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