8 Ways to Overcome Blue Monday
The third Monday of January is supposedly the bleakest day of the year. Mondays already have a bit of a reputation. In January, winter has established its stronghold, days are short, sunlight wanes, and that’s without thinking of all the money we just spent over the holidays, as well as all the New Year’s resolutions that are already a thing of the past. Blue Monday may be upon us—but we won’t let the winter blues damper our sunshine.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is an unofficial holiday that annually falls on the third Monday of January. It is said to be the most depressing day of the year—but it’s actually a PR stunt. In 2005, Cliff Arnall was commissioned by a travel agency to find the bleakest day of the year to sell more winter vacations.
There is little science proving this exact date to be the saddest. However, there are still some variables that come into play and may make us feel a little sombre around Blue Monday. For example, the beginning of the new year can be gloomy. Days are short, there’s little sun and glacial temperatures have us retreating indoors. The post-holiday blues set in along with forgotten resolutions and holiday bills. Vacations are well and truly over and summer is quite a bit away.
How to Overcome the Blues
Whilst we put the myth behind us, Blue Monday may actually be a good occasion to take a break and take care of ourselves. Here are some of our favourite ways to power through any Monday!
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment that uses essential oils to promote well-being. Fragrance is strongly linked to our memories and emotions. It can enhance both our physical and emotional health. Diffusers or soy-based candles are great ways to practise at-home aromatherapy. If you aren’t quite sure where to start…
- Lavender and chamomile for relaxation, de-stressing and an easier time falling asleep.
- Eucalyptus and peppermint to release tensions.
- Rosemary and cedar to improve concentration.
Take Care of Yourself
We take care of others all the time—the bleakest day of the year seems like the perfect opportunity to give a little love to ourselves. Slip into a warm bath filled with Epsom salts, light some candles, find a good book and apply a moisturizing face mask—nothing else matters.
Give Horticultural Therapy a Go
It’s proven that indoor plants improve productivity, positivity and concentration, boost your mood and reduce stress levels. In winter, when we must spend so much of our time inside, why not bring nature in?
Just grab yourself a plant (snake plants are great for beginners) to get through the winter blues with a little bit of green. You can even use this as a great opportunity to support your local plant nursery!
Get a Massage
What better way to ignore the existence of Blue Monday than by spending it erasing all traces of stress and tension? Receiving a massage is a great way to step away from it all for an hour. Allow the expert hands of massage therapists to take you somewhere else—where winter blues are a mere memory. The end-goal is simple: to make you feel your best both physically and emotionally.
Being kinder to ourselves, lowering our stress levels, reconnecting, improving our focus and being present are all long-lasting benefits of meditation.
Want to give it a try? Here are a few simple steps:
- Set a short and attainable time limit, 5 to 10 minutes is a great place to start.
- Find a quiet and place to sit and make sure you are grounded and comfortable—you’ll have to stay in this position for a while.
- Inhale deeply and exhale slowly and fully. Feel how your breath expands and contracts your belly.
- Be kind to yourself when your mind wanders—if you catch yourself thinking of anything, just go back to focusing on your breathing.
- And then you come back. Just open your eyes, check-in with your body, thoughts and emotions and continue your day, gently.
Vitamin D may be a hard commodity around Blue Monday, but getting fresh air is so important. Simply going outside for 15-minutes will do wonders for your well-being. There isn’t quite as much sunshine as there is in the summertime, but even a quick brisk walk will allow you to reap the mood-boosting benefits associated with the outdoors.
Skiing, sledding, hiking, snowshoeing, walking—anything that will get you outside the house will do the trick. Pile on the layers and get the hot cocoa ready for when you get back!
Grab Some Comfort Food
There’s nothing quite like your favourite dish to brighten up any day! Dust off the old recipe book, scour the web and get cooking! Get yourself a healthy dose of comfort in the form of whatever dish you want. You might even get a dash of aromatherapy in there—what better scent is there than that of a cake baking?
If you’d rather skip the cooking step and go straight to the eating—consider supporting a local restaurant to brighten their day too.
Reconnect with Your Loved Ones
Through it all, we are, in essence, social beings. Spending time with others is important to our well-being. Get creative and find ways to safely recharge your social batteries!
So, take a long warm bath, get a massage, go outside, find a good read, and relax. New Year’s resolution can’t always, realistically, be kept—but we can all make an effort to be kinder to ourselves and make time for some well-deserved pampering, this Blue Monday, or any other day.