January is a bleak time for many. As Christmas becomes a distant memory, most of us are meandering through the fog and cold, having disturbed sleep routines, and the pressure to set New Year’s resolutions. Is this familiar?
Generally, our bodies feel the strain of December’s pace and the pressure of Christmas, and we wait patiently until the arrival of spring and light again.
So what and when is Blue Monday?
We had Black Friday and now there is a “Blue Monday”. It has been calculated since 2005 by psychologist, Dr. Cliff Arnall. Factors he used to calculate the date included weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing New Year’s resolutions, low motivation and feeling the need to take action. It’s typically the third Monday of the month so in 2018 this would land on Monday 15th.
Why don’t some people like the idea of Blue Monday?
Everyone feels not so able for day to day life, particularly so when there is less light and when this time of year follows the Christmas season (this of course being dependent on your feelings towards Christmas itself). So we all might feel “blue” from time to time, and maybe a little more in January. This might be very different from those who suffer and struggle with with depression, no matter what time of year. It’s important to name this difference as there is a very real difference for the person who suffers with depression and the person who might feel glum or “blue” at particular times.
Whether you’re feeling down or optimistic on Blue Monday or any other day of the week, we present a few ideas that you can do to beat the blues and nourish yourself:
Here are 7 ways to beat the winter blues:
1.Listen to Yourself
This is key in tuning into how YOU feel. If you feel like going for a walk, just do it. If you feel like catching up with a friend, then do it. Alternatively, if you feel like chilling and relaxing at home, then that is ok too. Do whatever nourishes you.
2. Get some light/spend time in nature
Capitalise on the light. Research suggests that getting more light can help your mood – something that might be difficult during the shorter days – perhaps making an effort to get outside when there is daylight?
3. Stay Social
People will often withdraw from work, family, recreation . . . all the things that can actually help, says American therapist, Michael Boman. “Make sure to connect,” he says. Reach out to people. Even by text or phone.
4. Move your body
Any steady movement you enjoy— dancing, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling—boosts endorphins, and will leave you feeling calmer and happier. Some gentle yoga or stretching is also beneficial too and can help to shift the energy and get you out of that “rut” feeling.
5. Eat “Mood Food”
Food is fuel. Food also changes your mood. Eating breakfast sets your metabolism and regulates your mood for the day. Foods rich in Omega 3’s and Vitamin B6 are good. Have a banana, eat a turkey or tuna sandwich or munch on some sunflower seeds.
6. Have something to look forward to
Arranging something in advance helps keep your motivation levels up and creates a sense of anticipation and joy. Something like a cinema outing, a day out with a friend, a yoga class or a trip to a museum can keep your mood levels up and give you a boost.
7.Talk it through
A problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to someone can ease the burden of your thoughts and help you “get out of your head”. Sometimes, confiding in a trusted friend, family member or therapist can help you get the support you need if you are struggling. Remember, “it’s ok not to feel ok” and talking helps.
Perhaps use January as a time for contemplation and an opportunity to use the long, dark evenings as a time of reflection; allowing things to emerge like the arrival of spring….and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
About Paul Hogan
Paul is a Humanistic and Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Dream work and mindfulness are a core element of how Paul works. Paul helps people with a range of issues including anger, fear, panic, flashbacks and nightmares.
Contact: 089 4759635
About Deirdre Madden
Deirdre is a Humanistic and Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Jungian and Body Psychotherapy are her particular interest areas and her practice is informed by yoga, mindfulness with a strong emphasis on the integration of mind and body.
Contact: 087 3819427