Tomorrow is D-day. It’s Blue Monday. We all know it was created by marketing. A day designed for PRs to outreach with everything and anything to help you feel better about yourself and life this January. To get you feeling more sunshine yellow than blue.
It was actually invented in 2014 by the PRs behind Sky Travel, and there IS a formula behind it. It apparently takes into account many factors including weather, money, Christmas blues, failing new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling like we need to do something about it all. It might be pseudoscience, i.e something based on fluff, but either way we know this time of year can be tough.
With tomorrow marking the day, here’s a list of my top tips for getting through. Not just tomorrow, but the rest of January and February. Because let’s face it, this cold winter weather, the dark evenings, being thrown back into reality after Christmas and any stresses about everyday life, can really affect happiness and fulfillment. The year goes by too fast to have two whole months of blue, so why not see what making a few small changes/things could do.
Plan ‘me’ days with all of your favourite things
What are your favourite little things to do when you’re on your own? You know the things I mean. Reading? Bath? Baking? Make a list of all the small things you love and plan a day on one of the closest weekends to do some of those things. As many as you want/can fit in. Again it’s something to look forward to, but thinking of these little things, and doing these things can really help with happiness and how much you love your life right now.
All the trips. Whether it’s a day trip to Brighton for as soon as the weather is warmer, a city break to Madrid or even a day out exploring a new part of the city or a nearby town. They all count and give that extra little motivation and happiness looking at the year ahead. Plan to go to places you’ve always wanted to. You don’t need to book the big dream trips if you’re a bit strapped, as many are at this time of year. The smaller trips can make such a difference too. Planning with friends is fun, but even if you go solo, you can have a great time.
Plan trips home
For some this is easier to do than others and I do appreciate that. But even planning one family holiday for the year ahead can give you something to look forward to – and with some of the most important people. Family can make such a difference. So having those who know you best, within your near future plans can give you that drive to get through.
Fitness helps so many things in the fight to feel better. It releases ‘feel good hormones’, gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, and can help take your mind off stressful situations or things. But the thing which is key when it comes to working out is finding the thing which suits you – you might be more of a yoga person, more of a running or swimming individual, or perhaps someone who likes a more dance style class. Do the things you find fun, that always helps in keeping it up! If you’re worried about money, there’s so many free ways you can exercise. Youtube is the best!
OK, this one doesn’t work for everyone, and being mindful does really take practice! But meditation or practicing mindfulness can work wonders on your mental state and mood. It can really help you switch off from work and any other things playing on your mind too. This can take the form of meditation, colouring or even yoga – anything where you have to focus on something other than your phone and what you need to deal with. Try put aside 20 minutes or so to just do you.
Cooking wholesome meals
Good mood food. Food has a big impact on mood too, but not just that. Cooking can be a great way to relax and unwind. Taking your mind off the day. So why not whip out a new recipe this January/February and try something different? You might even surprise yourself – and that just leads to more pride and happiness! Plus food always tastes better when you’d put in so much effort!
Social switch off
This is very much in line with the above, and living in the moment. I.e. really taking in everything you’re doing right now. Social media has been found to negatively affect your mental health. I’m sure you can see why. Constantly being switched on, the feeling of FOMO when you’re sat doing nothing, or the comparison of your life to someone else’s ‘social media life’. I can have a huge effect on the way you feel about your own life. So why not switch off? Even for half a day? Turn off your notifications, put your phone on loud so you only hear if you get a call or message and completely ignore your phone. Do your own thing. Focus on the now. I love having an day off social, it really does help.
Laughter is another thing which affects mood positively. So why not plan an evening with those friends who make you giggle, an activity with your partner which is bound to set off a chuckle, or a night of stand-up to release those belly laughs. Laughing is contagious. So not only will you help yourself but you’ll help others too! But even if everyone is busy, get out Netflix, pick a comedy and let your hair down. It’ll feel great!
Listen to your body
This is so key through all of these things. Only you know what you need. Listen to your body. Do you crave a night in? Do you feel sluggish and need a detox weekend? Or do you actually need a weekend indulging in takeaway and letting go? Now plan those things. The more you listen to what your body tells you that you need, and give it those things, the more you’ll feel good about it and yourself.
These won’t all fit everyone. You have to listen to your own body and mind and select the ones which work for you. After all, it’s you that you need to look after. But I hope some of these help!
If you can’t seem t shift the blue feeling, it’s also super helpful to talk to someone – whether that’s friends or family. Talking it through can help. They know you pretty well too and might be able to suggest something different to the above.
Look after yourself and show yourself some love this January and February. What do you have planned over the next few months?