How to get through the most depressing day of the year (Blue Monday)

Especially if you’re stuck at home

Blue Monday (18th January 2021) is officially the most depressing day of the year. It’s bleak outside, you’re stuck at home and riddled with guilt that your wellbeing-led resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.  With this in mind, Feel Good Contacts has partnered with psychologist Jan P. de Jonge to offer 10 mood boosting tips to get you through this difficult day (and beyond):

Have a healthy relationship with the news

Try to limit stressors. Whether you’re doom-scrolling or glued to the anxiety-inducing 24-hour news channels, it is important that you consume news in a healthy way. Try to find a balance between being informed but not overwhelmed. Do this by limiting news consumption to set times during the day and preferably not when you should be relaxing, e.g. during meal times or at bed time.

See failure as a positive

If things haven’t worked out as expected, then don’t see it as a failure. Treat yourself with kindness and learn to accept that things go wrong from time to time. Be positive; see the failure as a lesson for the future.

Recalibrate your priorities
Are you working too many hours? Have you said “Yes” too often and too easily? Have you booked up all your available time? Is everything important? Chances are you feel stressed and alienated from those close to you. Address this by recalibrating your priorities and review how much time you spend on each habitual activity. You and those around you will be happier for it.

Gratitude tracking for a positive mindset

Set aside one minute a day for gratitude tracking. There is no need to overthink things. You simply need to focus on the small moments/successes that you don’t always acknowledge. This could include having a cup of coffee without being disturbed or a surprisingly sunny day.

Limit screen time

Our work and home life are becoming increasingly blurred, so try to limit your screen time when you’re not working. We all know how bad it can be for your health. Also, stress and sleep don’t mix, so it’s important to use the time before you go to bed to de-stress. Reduce your exposure to screens in the hours leading to bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens disrupts your sleep-wake cycle and can lead to wakefulness and lower quality sleep.

Stretch like an animal
The multi-million-pound yoga industry is built around it, and animals understand this better than humans do. To wake yourself up after (hopefully!) having had a good sleep or sitting down for a long time, we get ready for movement and work by automatically stretching our body. It’s what’s called “natural pandiculation:” yawning, stretching your arms, arching your back, making yourself as stretched out as possible after first tensing your muscles. Try to become more aware of your own body by contracting your muscles, stretching out slowly and then releasing… it’s relaxing.

Appreciation
Showing your appreciation to another person (even if you can only do this by email or some other remote form of communication) will be warmly received and also lift your mood. 

Forget give and take

Give up your belief in “give and take” and adopt a new “give and be given” approach. In other words: give out some unconditional love. It is likely that doing this may well increase your chances of getting some kindness in return. But the key trick is to not bank on it – do not expect to be able to ‘take’ anything in return. And, after all, giving unconditional kindness and care is itself a huge mood booster.

Get off to a good start
Get up a little earlier, drink water and do some exercise. Prepare your breakfast without relying too much on processed food. Get some fresh air and try to absorb some natural daylight – it will help you sleep better. Decide which eight to ten tasks you would like to do today and make sure you accomplish the four or five most important tasks on that list. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Bust a move
Improve your mood by doing some exercise. Start with small steps – small goals that are very easy to achieve. Don’t worry about finishing, but make sure you make a start. Exercise really makes you feel better.  

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