Beating Blue Monday: how to survive the most miserable day of the year


If you felt that it was particularly hard to get out of bed this morning and that the day ahead was bound to be hard, depressing and miserable, then there could be a reason why. Today is “Blue Monday”, dubbed the most “miserable day of the year”.

Back in 2005 the third Monday in January was pinpointed by a travel company as a day to be fearful of. To find it, they used a supposedly complex equation that takes into account various factors such as debt, time from Christmas and motivation levels. To be honest, pinpointing just one day as the most miserable is fairly unrealistic, but there is no doubt that dark days in January (particularly Mondays!) can be very tough to get through.

The excitement of Christmas has passed and it was probably a bit more exhausting and stressful than you anticipated. The holidays are a long distant memory, your resolutions have already failed and you are feeling the strain of all the festive excess (not to mention the lack of sun). Also, you’re broke… so can’t go out and see anyone or anything.

It can feel like like there’s not a lot to do except grit your teeth and endure it.

Whilst much of what happens each day is outside of your control, you are in charge of how you react to the trails and tribulations of life. You DO have a choice in how you mentally approach difficult days. So let’s try and not just get through Blue Monday, but enjoy it!

How we feel (our emotions) is connected to how we think, what we do and how our body feels. The link is bidirectional, so if you change one for the better, the others improve too, which gives you three options for boosting your mood:

1. Use the mind body link – how you feel physically has a big impact on how you feel emotionally, so use this to your advantage
2. Do something that makes you happy – what you do is a really simple way to change how you’re feeling, so make sure you plan in something to make it a good day
3. Think better feel better – what you think has a big impact on how you feel. When your thoughts are more positive it has a positive knock on effect on your mood

With this in mind, try my 10 simple strategies below – scientifically proven to make you feel good!

Smile
It might be the last thing you feel like doing, but when you smile it triggers feelings of happiness (even if you’re not feeling happy) as our facial expressions influence our emotions. Turn that frown upside down!

Laugh
Take it a step further and laugh, it really is the best medicine. Research shows that laughter soothes tension, improves your immune system and even eases pain. It’s a brilliant way to boost mood, switch off and it’s even good for your brain. The perfect antidote to Blue Monday.

Stand up tall
Stand up straight, push your shoulders back and hold your held up high. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that subjects who sat up straight in their chairs instead of slouching were more confident and felt better about themselves.

See a friend
Or phone them. Friends make you feel good and are good for you. They enhance your quality of life, reduce isolation, are protective against depression and are a source of support, fun and love.

Listen to your favourite happy song
Music and mood are inherently linked. Songs you love are shown to bring pleasure, engagement and meaning. Scientists have found that listening to a particularly happy song changes the way we perceive the world for the better.

Go outside
Being outdoors is a really simple way to boost your mood. Fresh air, nature and unfamiliar sights and sounds stimulate your body and mind.

Commit a random act of kindness
Perform a random act of kindness today and bring a smile to a fellow sufferer on Blue Monday. Committing regular random acts of kindness can significantly increase happiness levels for several weeks.

Notice the good
Good things are happening all of the time, but on days like today it can be difficult to give them the attention they deserve. Remember you have a choice in where you direct your attention – shift your focus and note down the everyday things that make you feel good.

Be grateful
People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. So take time to notice and reflect upon the things that you are thankful for today. Focusing our gratitude on people rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits!

Live the moment
Take a moment today to simply… be. Use your attention and senses to focus on the present and try not to be side tracked by thoughts of the past or a future that’s yet to arrive. Practicing mindfulness increases levels of happiness and wellbeing.

Good luck!

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