Blue Monday: Why Is It Called That and What Can You Do to Battle it?

Coined the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday annually falls on the third Monday of January – which in 2024 is Monday 15th. The concept, which pins feeling blue on one date in particular, is allegedly just based on pseudoscience and therefore psychology experts say the day itself it not something to get too hung up on. That being said, it doesn't require much stretch of the imagination to see why grey weather, dark evenings, an uplifting Christmas period that's been and gone, and a dissatisfaction with how the new year has panned out thus far are all factors that could contribute to this annual date being less joyful. And, since there is no doubt over the legitimacy of prolonged winter blues and since Mondays in general often leave us a little fatigued with low motivational levels, we thought we'd still supply some tips and tricks to help you best navigate this potentially sombre day and combat feeling down.

Receive a health boost and get feeling positive: how to overcome this dreary date with exercise

It's a tale as old as time that exercising makes you feel better! So, to tackle the blues, an endorphin release may be just what you need. Moving for as little as 15 minutes can lift your spirits, change your perspective and get you feeling energised. So, throw on some joggers and a t-shirt (and of course a fleece or jacket if you're heading outside) and get going with a home workout. If you're looking to feel in control of something, physical activity is the answer. Plus, by exercising you evade any feelings of guilt that might crop up from sitting stationary all day. Working out is a win, win!

What better way is there to avoid a slump than walking the most depressing day of the year away?

A burst of fresh air is one of the greatest mood boosters known to mankind. Although, cold and damp, the great outdoors can be a little less inviting in winter, we'd really encourage you to set off for a walk whatever the weather. Not only can walking account for your recommended daily exercise, it's a great way to escape four walls and get yourself in a new headspace. An hour outside is ample time to get those steps in. Where possible, try and opt for a scenic route to make things more invigorating – there's nothing better than sea air, or inhaling earthy, floral scents. But if green spaces and seafronts are out of reach, a simple walk around the block is as good as anything. Just make sure you're geared up with walking boots or comfortable trainers and a decent coat (especially in rainy weather!) for a worry-free stroll.

Why not grab a blanket and cosy up on the sofa with your favourite film or a good podcast?

Sometimes the best remedy when feeling blue is simply to snuggle up on the sofa, dressed in your comfiest loungewear and hidden under a pile of blankets. So why not do this while watching a good movie (or series!) or listening to your favourite podcast. Just remember to choose something upbeat that will make you chuckle! Zoning into an art medium is the perfect distraction from your day-to-day – even a decent book will do the trick. So put your feet up (with a warm pair of slippers on of course) and enjoy some rejuvenating downtime. Self-care is key!

Strike a balance between work and play: perform a hands-on activity that you enjoy

Another way to counteract the depressing nature of this day is to embrace an activity. Here's some suggestions. Contrary to popular opinion, gardening can be done in January – so slip into your gardening outfit and step outside! Give your apple trees and rose bushes a winter prune, trim back trees and climbers before birds start nesting, get on with some weeding, or clean and prep your plant pots for the season ahead. Even if all you have is a balcony or window box, you can use this time to begin planning and researching what you want to grow this year. If being a green thumb doesn't interest you, then maybe cooking, decorating or some DIY will. Investing your energy into a productive activity and reaping the rewards instantaneously is the perfect formula for a not-so-blue Monday.

Inject some meaning into Blue Monday: make the most of January offers and give a gift!

Of course maxing out on the January sales and treating yourself to something you've had your eye on might be the perfect pick-me-up, but why not offer something to someone else? Generosity pays! Since one factor contributing to Blue Monday is the unfortunate realisation that Christmas has receded into the past, why not rekindle that festive spirit and arrange a gift for a loved one. Giving can take many forms and needn't come with a price tag. Sending a card or a handwritten letter unannounced are touching ways to let someone know you care, or – cost free – you can even just pick up the phone. We all know that at the heart of it, it's the thought that counts. And now more than ever is the perfect time to connect with people.

Blue skies ahead

There you have it, a handful of ways to stop this third Monday of the year from being such a dull date. And if you don't feel like doing much on Blue Monday itself, why not use the time to roughly plan some bright things for the future and instead optimistically look ahead? From re-evaluating your new year's resolutions to deciding upon your next adventure, keep your eyes fixed on the horizon. Blue Monday is just a concept – it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom and you certainly don't need to let the calendar dictate your mood! Ups and downs are a very normal reality of life. But don't forget, spring is just around the corner...

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