8 Ways to Overcome Blue Monday
The third Monday of January is supposedly the bleakest day of the year. Mondays are nobody’s favourite, winter has established its stronghold, days are short and 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 we’ve already given up on. Blue Monday is upon us—but we won’t let the winter blues win that easily now, will we?
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 as a way to sell more winter vacations.
There is little science behind this holiday to prove it to be the saddest. However, there are still some variables that come into play and may make us feel a little sadder than usual around Blue Monday.
The beginning of the new year can be gloomy. Days are short, there’s little sun and glacial temperatures have us retreating to the indoors. The post-holiday blues set in along with forgotten resolutions and holiday bills. Vacations are well and truly over and it’s really setting in that summer is quite a bit away.
How to Overcome the Blues
It’s time to put this myth behind us. No matter the veracity of this unofficial holiday, we’ve put together a list of feel-good things to help your power through any and all Mondays.
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, soy-candles burning, a good book in hand and a face mask doing its work—nothing else matters.
Give Horticultural Therapy a Go
House plants are good for your health. They release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide—they’re also really pretty. 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 with us?
So, grab yourself a plant (snake plants are great for beginners) to get through the winter blues with a little bit of green. It’s also 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. On the surface, it’s a simple way to relax, it can, however, be a little difficult to quiet brain chatter.
If you 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.
- Take a deep inhale 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 primordial to surviving the day. 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 set out the hot cocoa for when you’re ready to come inside!
Grab Some Comfort Food
There’s nothing quite like your favourite dish to brighten up any day—even Blue Monday. 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, it will brighten up their day too!
Our spa food-is available for delivery and takeout—what’s more comforting than spa food?
Reconnect with Your Loved Ones
Although it may be complicated at this time, we are, in essence, social beings. Spending time with others is important to our well-being. Plan a phone call, a videocall, write a letter and post by snail mail!
Make a day out of Blue Monday and create new traditions with friends or family. A dinner where you trade all your favourite recipes and funniest stories. This year, it will be done online, but Blue Monday will come back around next year—but this time you’ll be prepared and ready to take it on.
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.