What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday always falls on the third Monday of January, making it Monday 17th January in 2022.
The theory is that by the time the third week of January rolls around, we're back at work (but payday is some way off), feel heavy and lethargic, and might already have broken our New Year's Resolutions. The weather outside is (to quote the song) frightful. And to top it all off, it's a Monday! Does anyone honestly enjoy Mondays?
In short, Blue Monday is, supposedly, 'the most depressing day of the year'.
Like so many other annual days, Blue Monday is a man-made construct that doesn't necessarily reflect reality, although based on some pretty sound assumptions.
But remember, there's no rule that says feeling blue is inevitable on the third Monday of January. And there's plenty you can do to set yourself up for a happier, healthier month so that you can side-step the blues altogether.
How to develop a positive mindset for January
Knowledge is power, and knowing the end of January can be a struggle can help you take steps to adopt a positive mindset before the slump.
If you did make a New Year's Resolution and you're struggling to keep it up, try breaking it down into one or two very small habits you can succeed at in the coming weeks.
For example, if you pledged to eat healthy, try focusing on adding good food rather than putting your energy into restricting and fighting cravings. In other words, worry about the positives you can add and the negatives will naturally reduce. This can be a more manageable approach and breaks an overall goal down into bitesize chunks.
If the dark evenings get to you, reframe the situation to spend some time doing something you love. This might be reading, following a YouTube workout, or staying in touch with friends.
And remember, January is difficult for everyone. You don't need to make a rip-roaring success of the month. Look after yourself, adopt a couple of small healthy habits, move your body every day, and you'll be on to a winner.
Five Factors That Can Affect January Happiness
Christmas is a super-spendy time, and your pay packet needs to stretch for five weeks. Knowing this, it might feel like you're stuck doing nothing for the last couple of weeks of Jan, but there's all kinds of things you can do to have fun without spending.
Try some new recipes, teach the dog some new tricks, come up with some challenges to do with the family.
If you do need some new clothes or new furniture, why not check out some recycling apps you haven't used before or take a different approach and upcycle some furniture?
Not feeling your leanest after Christmas food and drink? You're not the only one! It's totally normal to put on a few pounds over the festive season and nothing to feel guilty about - often a lot of this is retained water and not fat, so there's no need to panic.
Don't adopt the negative mindset of having to "burn it off". Instead, think about activity as a healthy gift to your body and mind. How can you start moving your body with workouts, walking, yoga or sport? Why not try something totally new?
January can be a challenging time for emotional wellbeing. Maybe you're feeling the come-down from a fun December, or perhaps you simply don't like this dark and cold time of year. Reframe January's long evenings and unappealing weather as an opportunity to spend time indoors on your favourite at-home self-care practices.
I like to set aside one evening every week or two to dedicate to some self-care.
Make sure the house is tidy so that you're not distracted by outstanding tasks, have a bath, watch or read something you enjoy, do some skincare, do your nails, trim your beard, whatever makes you feel good and fresh.
December is a time to catch up with friends and family, but January can feel lonely by comparison. One of the best things you can do throughout the month is stay in touch with the people you care about. This might mean meeting up with a running buddy or workout partner, or it could be regular phone calls or video calls.
If you don't have the means to go out and do something together, book in something for when you can.
January can be a challenging month for the healthy habits that make us feel good. Not all healthy habits have to be high effort and high energy - though if this is what you enjoy, go go go.
A healthy habit to practice in the cold winter months could be home cooking, fresh outdoor walks, home workouts, and plenty of sleep. Small changes add up to a lot over the year.
An outdoor walk may not feel like something you're motivated to do when it's cold and dark outside, but it's a great way to get your blood flowing and make you feel refreshed. But, if that doesn't convince you, you can always invest in a treadmill instead and stay warm.
So, to summarise:
Blue Monday who?
Avoid the dreaded day by taking charge of your own physical and mental wellbeing in January.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of restful sleep by adopting a regular bedtime and not touching your phone once you're ready for bed.
Stock up on healthy foods and focus on wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and natural ingredients.
Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or sugar free squash - 2 litres is a good goal.
Keep active with regular walks, workouts, cardio blasts, and gentle stretching sessions.