Back in 2005 a travel company created a campaign around the idea of "Blue Monday". Scheduled to fall on the third Monday of January, the company labeled this date as the most depressing day of the year, thanks to a combination of cold weather, short days and the post-holiday comedown.
The evidence for Blue Monday is a bit thin, but it’s certainly not unusual to feel down around this time—especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, where January can feel like a very dark, dreary month.
We spoke to Joanna Silver, a psychological therapist, and got her top three pieces of advice for Blue Monday.
Joanna Silver is the lead psychological therapist at Orri, an eating disorder treatment clinic. She is also a trained counseling psychologist, registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council, and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.
1. Look after yourself first
Modern life can get busy, but you should always try to make some time for self-care, even if it’s a case of remembering to wash your hair or brush your teeth.
"When our mood drops, it is important to make sure we are not neglecting ourselves," says Silver. "Self-care varies between individuals and may include going for a walk, taking a warm bath, or reading a book. Self-care can also look like putting boundaries between work and home and saying ‘no’ sometimes."
2. Talk to someone
Feeling depressed can be very isolating, but speaking to others can help.
"Loneliness and isolation can often cause people to feel low and down. Connecting with others can be a way of feeling less alone and more engaged with the outside world. Often talking to others can increase our mood and also provide an opportunity to talk through problems," says Silver.
So, schedule a coffee with a friend, set up a call with a colleague, or try to connect with a family member.
3. Let yourself feel your feelings
Yes, we’ve written a whole article about it, but you might want to avoid giving too much credence to the idea of 'Blue Monday'.
"Labeling a day as ‘ Blue Monday’ can put pressure on someone to ‘beat’ the blues and feel better," says Silver. "Instead, acknowledge how you are feeling and think about the support that you may need. This may include talking to a health professional."
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Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.
Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.
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