Do you have the January blues? Here's How to Cheer Yourself up This Blue Monday
With Christmas already a distant memory and the saddest day of the year just hours away, it's understandable that we're all feeling a little gloomy. January is, without a doubt, the hardest month to get through for many. And Blue Monday doesn't make it any easier. That's why at Happy Beds we've put together this article of tips on how to cheer yourself up during this never-ending month. We promise February is just around the corner!
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday, for those who don't know, is the third Monday of January and is the final week before payday. It's known as the saddest day of the year, and this is down to the long wait we have until January payday. With most people being paid in early December for Christmas, we tend to spend a large amount of our wage during the festive period and then have a limited amount left to last us until late January.
But the stretch to payday isn't the only thing making us feel gloomy. A perfect storm of bad weather, long nights, our (recently depleted) finances, and the fact that Christmas is long gone hit us all at once and leave us feeling very, very low. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that we've already fallen through with our New Year's resolutions.
No wonder we're all feeling down in the dumps this January!
Blue Monday and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
In Winter, many people struggle with their mental health. And on January 18th, the saddest day of the year makes an appearance too. For people already struggling, this day is particularly hard.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is caused by the changing seasons. When facing darker, colder and wintery weather, a person will develop depression-like symptoms until the days begin to get lighter again.
As Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year, this can heighten people's feelings of hopelessness, leading to a more severe depressive episode. This is why learning how to cheer yourself up is so important, especially during the winter months.
How to Make Yourself Feel Happy
Has the saddest day of the year got you feeling down? Then let's get started!
Take a look at our tips on how to cheer yourself up this January. These tips are easy, wholesome and sure to add a touch of positivity to your day. Forget Blue Monday, let's change the saddest day of the year into the happiest day of the year! You've got nothing to lose.
Put it this way, at least these tips won't make you feel worse!
1. Practice Gratitude
For our first tip, we suggest practicing gratitude. We think this tip is the most important, and most beneficial tip on our list. So beneficial in fact, that we've had it on our New Year's resolution list for years now.
Researched widely over the years, practicing gratitude is an effective way to improve your mood. Practicing gratitude can come in many forms, whether it's writing a thank you letter, making a list, or even thanking someone in person, all of these can be seriously beneficial for our wellbeing.
For example, writing a letter of gratitude to someone you think deserves it can do all sorts of positive things, one being that it greatly lifts your spirits. Research from Berkeley University shows that you don't even need to give your letter of gratitude to the recipient, just writing the letter alone can make you feel better.
Not only does it help you become a more positive person, but it also helps you express empathy and kindness, sleep better, and even improve your immune system! If you need just one tip on how to cheer yourself this Blue Monday, then we promise that this is the one to try.
2. Walk Away Those Winter Blues
Everyone knows that a good walk is super beneficial for your mental and physical health. Even more so now with the UK in its third lockdown! To avoid breaching the lockdown rules, you must stay in your local area. However, the good thing about walking is that you can explore your local surroundings and find places you've never spotted before! There are so many pretty views to take in, and the brisk Winter air will do you a world of good. Plus you might get to see some cute dogs too!
Scientifically, walking also releases 'feel happy' hormones including Melatonin. So there really is a science that links happiness to walking. It helps you unwind, boosts your energy levels, improves your sleep, and lowers your cortisol levels too. AND the list goes on.
3. Social Media Detox
Not just for Blue Monday, an occasional social media detox is good for your positivity all year round. We're almost always comparing ourselves to others, and we can become trapped in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and feelings. With that much negativity, the saddest day of the year becomes an everyday occurrence.
We know it's hard, but even taking small steps will help. Start small by scheduling a social media detox for Blue Monday and aim to put your phone away for the whole day. Then slowly build it up, and after enough time you'll be able to spend time apart with your phone without even thinking about it.
Social media contributes largely to our happiness and is one of the main reasons people find themselves feeling down. So anytime away from our phones will be beneficial towards our state of happiness.
We've always wanted to try this but in all honesty...we've just never had the patience. However, with the current situation, we've found ourselves with a little more extra time, so we're going to give it a go!
Journaling allows us to keep tabs on our thoughts and feelings. By writing down how we're feeling every day, it becomes easier to reveal our triggers, or what makes us upset.
Journaling has all sorts of benefits including managing anxiety and depression, reducing stress, prioritizing your problems, and it helps you keep a clear head in a time where everything can become a bit foggy.
5. Eat all the Chocolate
We know how to make yourself feel happy, and all it involves is lots and lots of chocolate!
If you're anything like us, your Christmas chocolate will have all been eaten by Boxing Day morning. We just can't help ourselves! But ask yourself, when you were snacking on all your Christmas goodies, how did you feel? We bet you felt pretty good.
Simply put, chocolate releases endorphins. So when you tuck into that KitKat, your brain emits mood-lifting chemicals that make you happy. As dark chocolate contains more cocoa, this type of chocolate is more efficient in releasing endorphins. But that's not to say that milk chocolate doesn't make you happy either! Any chocolate makes us happy.
6. Give Smiling a Go
Now, this one sounds silly, but we promise it works! The secret of how to make yourself feel happy is...showing your teeth. Research from CNBC has found that the act of smiling can trick your mind into thinking you're happy.
Did you know the simple act of triggering your facial muscles, as you fake a smile, stimulates the Amygdala? If you didn't know, the Amygdala is the part of our brain that promotes a positive state of mind, by releasing the Neurotransmitters - Dopamine and Serotonin. The exact hormones that we need to improve our mood and feel better.
So if you're feeling a bit low, give smiling a go!
7. Distract Yourself
If all else fails and you don't know how to make yourself feel happy, then have a go at distracting yourself. It can be anything you fancy doing - playing a video game, reading a book, baking some cookies, and so on!
Anything that keeps your mind distracted will stop you from dwelling on your bad thoughts. As, after all, overthinking is one of the main causes of bad moods.
Just don't get too distracted though, as you might be 30 minutes too late in getting the now-very-burnt cookies out of the oven.
8. Get a Good Night's Sleep
Now one of the best tips on our list of stuff on how to cheer yourself up, is getting a good night's sleep. After all, a tired person is never a happy person!
We've all been there after a particularly long day, you just want to eat, chill and crawl into bed. Every little noise your partner makes infuriates you. You can't concentrate and your temper is ready for bursting. The littlest thing could set you off.
Now think back to a time when you were well-rested, cosy, and warm...and angry. Think of anything? Because we're sure you can't! How can you be angry or sad when nestled underneath a soft, snug duvet? Because that sounds like pure bliss to us.
For extra comfort, an eye mask will block out unnecessary light, helping wearer's achieve a full night's sleep. Take a look at our Panda Bamboo Eye Mask range, crafted from bamboo and mulberry silk and designed to block out light and provide comfort for your eyes.
Will you be trying out Blue Monday tips?
We hope we've been able to put an end to your Blue Monday blues. Well, at least for this year, anyway! Will you be giving any of these tips a go? Or do you have any useful tips of your own that help with beating the winter blues? Let us know what you think on social!