Naturally, we all feel a little glum when the holiday season is over. If you’ve set yourself some goals for the New Year, you may have felt pretty pumped as the year started. However, a couple of weeks in, and Blue Monday is right around the corner.
On the third Monday of January, the effects of “Blue Monday” can set in. Yep, it’s quite frankly the Monday-iest Monday ever, and is often referred to as the “most depressing day of the year”. Don’t believe me? It even has its own Wiki page.
While there’s not much concrete scientific evidence to show that Blue Monday is truly the day we feel the glummest, we can let you in on where it started. So let’s go back to 2005, where UK psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall created a particular equation that kickstarted it all. This equation takes into account seven different variables:
- (W) weather
- (D) debt
- (d) monthly salary
- (T) time since Christmas
- (Q) time since (more than likely) failed your resolution
- (M) low motivation levels
- (NA) the need to take action
The formula [W + (D-d)] x Tq ÷ [M x Na] takes these circumstances and feelings into account, predicting that this day would be the most depressing day of the year.
While there may not be any real research to back it up, when you think of the circumstances and how we all feel by this point in January – it makes sense. Think about it, the Christmas holidays are over, it’s pretty damn cold outside and the sun is pretty nonexistent.
Of course, we’re all kinda waiting for the next holiday break (come onnnn Memorial Day), and the realization that life is still a little weird is very much out there.
A quick heads up, though… While Blue Monday may feel like the most depressing day of the year, it is certainly not to be confused with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or clinical depression. While we all love a good moan (like we do most Monday mornings!), the January blues and a real diagnosis of depression are totally different.
That doesn’t mean that Blue Monday should take over your life. So let’s kick the pity party out the door and show Monday that we can kick ass. Try out the following tips and Blue Monday won’t know what’s hit it.
GET WORKING OUT. YOU’LL THANK ME LATER.
Just because it’s Blue Monday, it doesn’t mean you can avoid working out. Shift your mindset to, “I’m going to kick Monday’s ass,” and you’ll be sweating out those January blues in no time.
Get your headphones in, music loud and start running! Or why not use some items around the house for your own full body workout? Getting hot and sweaty working out benefits your body and mind in many ways. No matter what you decide to do, where you’re pushing weight or going for a run around the block, exercise can reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.
Whether you’re ‘in the mood’ or not, work out, you’ll thank me later.
GET YOUR BUTT OUTSIDE, EVEN IF IT’S COLD.
It may be gloomy January weather, but it’s time to get outside. A walk in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on the area of the brain associated with depression. So, go for a walk and ignite your senses with some fresh air! Go on, be a daredevil, get your face in that snow.
Why not go one step further? Bring your workout outdoors! If you’re struggling at the thought of exercising outside, try warming up indoors with some quick exercises before dashing out your door for a run. A walk in nature will help you to reduce stress levels, feel less claustrophobic indoors, and give you a boost of endorphins when you exercise.
Of course, if there’s a chance of frostbite outside, looking at a picture of the beach for 10 minutes can still benefit your brain, according to studies.
GET YOUR YOGA ON AND LET GO OF THOSE WINTER BLUES.
It’s time to grab your favorite sweats or stretchy pants and give yoga a try. If you’ve worked out and been outside (in 100 layers no doubt), it’s time for yoga. Try adding some sun salutations into your regime, helping you warm-up or cool down after your workout.
Sun salutations are a series of postures that can help warm, strengthen, and align your entire body. We already know that yoga is good for us, plus studies have shown it can significantly help depression (and help you give Blue Monday a run for its money).
If it’s far too cold to get outside, combining your home workout with some yoga flows can help clear your mind and moderate your response to stress.
TAP INTO YOUR INNER BUDDHA AND MEDITATE.
It’s easy to get sucked into the negativity of Blue Monday (and the January slump in general). One of the easiest ways to rid your mind of these thoughts is through a mental detox – meditation. Although your Blue Monday self might grumble at the idea alone, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Meditation can lower your heart rate and calm your central nervous system, as well as lower feelings of stress, anxiety and loneliness. Plus, it can make you feel more compassionate. Which translates to: All this time at home… Must. Not. Go. Nuts. At. Everyone.
Studies have shown the many benefits of meditation, including its ability to help achieve balance, relaxation and self-control.
TAKE SOME TIME FOR SELF CARE.
Now, guys, I’m not about to get all girly on you and crack out the nail varnish, but looking after yourself matters too. Treat yourself to some you time, whether it’s a soak in the bath (beer optional), a long hot shower, or taking the time to brew the perfect Blue Monday coffee.
Why not take an extra ten minutes in bed to daydream and brush that stress aside?
Blue Monday doesn’t have to look so blue after all, when you’re ready to self indulge.
BLAST OUT YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC.
There’s nothing quite like kicking a bad mood to the curb with your favorite music. Whether you’re working from home, going for a run, or grabbing those essentials from the shop, brightening your mood with some of your favorite records is easy.
Don’t worry guys, if you feel like listening to your ultimate guilty pleasure, I won’t tell anyone.
GO STALKING THROUGH @THEROCK’S INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.
We’re giving you free rein here to go on a motivational stalking spree. The Rock is the God of motivation – Blue Monday has nothing on him.
Already thinking of excuses for your Monday-ish mood? His feed will snap you out of that. So go ahead and get scrolling, because there’s nothing The Rock can’t handle, and you can take on his kick ass mood, too. Blue Monday, WHO?