Blue Monday: 5 ways to beat the dreaded ‘January blues’

Did you know that 20 January is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ because it’s officially the most depressing day of the year? The third Monday in January is apparently the time when we’re at our most gloomy, and that’s down to a number of factors including the weather, debt, low motivation and early failure of New Year’s Resolutions. And, of course, because the Christmas festivities feel like a dim and distant memory. If you’re suffering from a case of the January blues, here are a few things you can do to help yourself get out of the rut…

  1. Get out into the great outdoors
    Nothing blows the cobwebs away like a blast of fresh air, so whatever the weather, don a warm coat and wellies and go for a walk – or even a run, if you’re still determined to keep up a New Year fitness regime. There’s plenty of wildlife to look out for even in the depths of winter; see how many kinds of birds you can spot, for example, and look out for snowdrops and other signs of spring approaching – each one a reason to be cheerful.
  2. Book a holiday
    We all long for sunshine in the midst of the grey January weather, so if you have the budget, why not book a holiday somewhere warm and sunny? Even if you can’t take the time off work at short notice, just booking a trip and having it to look forward to can be all that’s needed to lift your spirits.
  3. Throw a party
    If you’re missing the Christmas festivities, why not gather together some friends or family and throw a January party? It’s a time of year when many of us are huddled up at home and venturing out on a cold, dark night doesn’t always seem appealing, but a party is a great excuse to get everyone round and enjoying a bottle of fizz or two. Not that you need any particular reason for a party, but if you’re looking for a theme, it’s Burns Night on 25th January.
  4. Take up a new hobby
    Even if you missed the boat on making New Year’s Resolutions, a fun one to get stuck into any time is trying a new hobby. Whether you decide to try indoor rock climbing for the first time or you join a local arts and crafts society, taking up a hobby is a great way to renew your enthusiasm for life, as well as making new friends and keeping your calendar busy in the dull winter months.
  5. Eat the right food
    Finally, you’d be amazed what an effect your diet has on your mood. If you’re low in spirits, take a few moments to review what you’ve had to eat in the last few days. If you’ve been relying on processed foods, and in particular unhealthy ‘comfort food’, you might be surprised how much better you feel by adding in more fresh fruit and veg, along with foods containing vitamin D (the same vitamin we get from sunlight), such as salmon and eggs. Here are some great tips from the charity Mind on the link between food and mood and simple changes you can make to help you feel better.