Are you ready for Blue Monday?

Since 2005, we have been able to put a name to the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday. A U.K.-based psychologist, Dr Cliff Arnall created “Blue Monday” around 14 years ago to describe the third Monday in January, which he claims is the saddest day of the year. He came up with this after creating an equation that took into account the weather, average amount of debt a person has after the holidays and their ability to pay it off, the time elapsed since Christmas, peoples average levels of motivation, having to return to work, and how long it took people to break their new years resolutions. 

The holidays are done, the weather is cold and dark, you possibly overspent on Christmas gifts and probably over ate at Christmas dinner, and now you’re feeling the pinch, in more ways than one. You’re three weeks into your new years resolutions and maybe you’re starting to slip up because, you know what, shit is hard! Well Blue Monday is coming, whether we like it or not, so let’s suck it up and figure out how to handle it.

First things first, it’s important not to beat yourself up, that won’t do anybody any good, but recognize there are things you could tweak and figure out a way to make that change possible, being realistic.

Think about the things that are bothering you and write them down, now thinking about each one individually, think about how, you can improve that situation. Don’t rush it, think about it logically.

Now I’m not saying if you’re looking at loosing weight you need to be going to the gym 6 days a week and only eating 1,000 calories a day, or if you need more money you should get a second job, I am talking about realistic changes in your life that are manageable.  And it’s important to take your time with this, to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

The most important thing to remember is, its going to be ok. There is no time cap on your new years resolutions, and even if you wanted to loose 10lb in January and instead you’ve gained 4, ITS OK! The fact that you’re recognizing there is something that needs to be addressed is the first step. 

Maybe you’re struggling with some bills after the holiday and not sure how you can get them paid off, think realistically, is there a Starbucks you could go without for a month, or maybe you could bring a packed lunch to work, meal planning is a great way to save on impulse buying when you’re hungry. Plan ahead before you even go to the supermarket, make your list that corresponds with your meal plan for the week. This will ensure less impulse buying in the supermarket and once you’ve done your meal prep, less impulse buying that take-out (which might also help if you’re also struggling with loosing a few lb’s).

Possibly your new years resolution is to loose weight and you’ve been trying to go to the gym but just not enjoying it, is it because you’re not sure what to do? Maybe consider a few personal training sessions or classes, or something I used when I first started working out was LDN Muscle (these guys are incredible with their fully comprehensive guides to nutrition and exercise, I still have their Bikini Guides on my phone and will refer to them if I’m in the gym on my own, I cant recommend them enough). Or maybe the gym just isn’t for you, maybe there is a sport you can try that will keep you active in a different way that will be more enjoyable for you. 

“By an inch or a mile, forward momentum is the only requirement”

It also may be helpful to write down how you’re feeling, even if you’re not off track with Christmas debt or new years resolutions, even if you don’t normally keep a diary, take a few minutes to write down what you’re feeling. Its amazing how much better, just getting it out of your head and onto paper can make you feel.

Remember you’re not alone, millions of people are feeling this way around this time of year, so much so, we made an official day out of it. So as the Sunday scaries sink in, and Blue Monday is approaching, stay focused, don’t beat yourself up, and keep moving towards your goals even if you choose a different path. 

As my mum would always tell me, “this too shall pass”.

5 Things I do when I’m feeling low.

I think it’s important to remember being “healthy”doesn’t just mean free from illness or injury. The way things are today its more important than ever to take care of our mental health, with social media “ideals” everywhere we look.

In this day and age, when we’re living whirlwind-100mph lives, it is easy to get wrapped up in other peoples lives, thinking everyone else has it figured out and other peoples lives look perfect. It can be really overwhelming. 

When I start feeling low, these are some of the things I do:

1. I meditate – Meditating is something I feel like I definitely don’t make enough time for every day, but when I’m feeling low I remember I need to make time to be mindful. I truly believe that living a healthy lifestyle includes being mindful, and our mental health often gets pushed to the back burner when we get so focused on eating well and exercising. My brain is often thinking about at least 10 things at any one moment so I find it hard to be present and let go of day to day thoughts. I find using an app helps me focus, a couple I would recommend are Calm and Headspace.

2. I exercise – Exercising is proven to reduce depression and anxiety. I put it in my diary sometimes so I make the time to exercise, particularly a yoga class as I feel that kind of movement really helps my mood. Research shows that even just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise such as a brisk walk, jogging, swimming, cycling, 3 times per week can improve your mood!

3. I write – I’m not one who journals regularly, in fact I have never considered myself a writer but when I’m feeling low I write down everything that is going on in my life and how its made me feel, this is probably the thing I find helps me the most. I very very rarely even go back and read it but I feel just getting it out of my head and onto paper helps. I guess its like talking to someone but you can be as honest and as raw as you like, and know that no one ever even has to see it.

4. I use essential oils – My mum bought me this little humidifier diffuser so I jumped online and bought me a pack of essential oils, and I use them occasionally but this is something I definitely use more when I’m feeling low or stressed. The ones I find I use most, are lavender, frankincense, lemongrass and rosemary. Sometimes one at a time but mostly mixing a combination.

5. I listen – When I’m feeling low, I tend not to want to talk about it, mostly for fear of being a burden, which is something I’ve battled with throughout my life. I am a communicator, I like to talk, but for some reason I get this fear of off-loading that someone probably doesn’t want to hear it (which often isn’t the case!). So I listen, I love putting on a certain playlist that either will make me get in my feels and maybe have a good cry (which everyone needs from time to time) or something uplifting which will help me get motivated for the day. Either that or a motivational podcast or audiobook helping me focus my mind on the positives and moving forward.

Some of these things can require a lot of effort, sometimes you know these things might make you feel better but you just don’t want to. I understand, just know that you are the one that has to take that step into making yourself feel better. 

What are some of the things you do that helps when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Or something you have done in the past that has helped?

Maybe you would prefer helping a stranger, or talking to a friend or family member. Whatever your process looks like, I would love it if you shared it, also please let me know if you try any of these tips and if they work for you.