Blue Monday. The day of the ultimate January blues. This annual event might as well have its own greeting card, it’s that well recognised.
For those who may be feeling a little glum but were unaware of Blue Monday’s title, we’ll give you a little backstory. Rewind to 2005, where UK psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall created a mathematical formula that would fit right into any school curriculum.
The formula works by combining multiple factors we’re all pretty familiar with. This includes January weather, debt, time passed since Christmas, messing up our New Year’s resolutions and all the motivation we miss in-between. According to his calculations, by the third Monday in January, we’re feeling the glummest.
Yep, that’s right. We’re all demotivated about our motivation levels.
Why is Blue Monday considered the most depressing day of the year?
As well as following Dr Arnall’s formula, Monday already has a reputation for being the most gloomy day of the week. The first working day of the week aside, Monday also has links to suicide figures. According to The Office for National Statistics, 16% of male suicides occur on a Monday.
Although there’s no real research to support Arnall’s theory, we kinda just accept its legitimacy. A lot of companies use it as the prime time to offer incentives, tapping into our lack of motivation and failing at New Year’s resolutions.
By the third Monday in January, we’re all feeling pretty fed up. Blue Monday is the result of post-Christmas pressures. Plus, the struggle to maintain new routines and dig our way out of debt can be overwhelming. Then, not to mention, the weather…
When January comes around, a lack of energy and depression can creep in – both of which are symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). These symptoms may show in the wintery months, with little natural light around.
But there is a way out of the Blue Monday rut! We’ve got some tips to help you tackle those January blues.
How to tackle Blue Monday
Although January – and Blue Monday – may feel the gloomiest, there are some ways to help tackle the blues.
Cut down on your goals (a little)
While December was chocolate and mince pies, it’s a new year and a new you. You’ve been out running, doing home workouts and you’re feeling dedicated to Veganuary – but guess what? It’s all a bit too much.
No doubt you’ve got a stack of books to read on becoming your best self, and so far you’ve just admired the covers. Am I right?
If you’re suffering from the Blue Monday feels, don’t be so hard on yourself! Instead of trying to juggle a hundred different things, set yourself up for success by sticking to two changes. If you’re looking to up your muscle gain this year, go full steam ahead. There are so many hours in the day! So don’t beat yourself up about doing it all in one go.
Track your spending
According to Online Tax Rebate experts, it takes five months to pay off Christmas debt on average. The best way to manage it? Start tracking your spending. Keeping an eye on where your money goes can help you wipe the slate clean and start the year off right.
Too many of us sign up to subscriptions and forget to cancel them! If you’re guilty of treating yourself a little too often (hello coffee!) or find yourself paying for a subscription you don’t use – cancel it. Cutting back on the smaller spends, such as the odd takeaway coffee can save you more than you’d expect in the long run.
Looking for a way to diary your dosh? Banking apps such as Monzo or Moneybox can help you get your finances in check. You’ll soon see where your money is really going!
Look elsewhere for that vitamin D
Come January time, we’re all kinda wishing the months away until summer. During winter, when the sun does decide to show up, the rays aren’t strong enough to help us produce vitamin D. But there is a way to get enough into your body!
To help pick you up when the sun isn’t shining, top up your diet with some of the following foods:
Oily fish, such as:
As well as, egg yolks and mushrooms, which are great sources of vitamin D.
Discover the reasoning behind your resolutions
Setting New Year’s resolutions is easy, but sticking to them… Not so much. Instead of setting yourself a shed load of goals, try to dig a little deeper as to why you’ve set them.
Once you uncover ‘why’ you’ve decided upon those resolutions, the ‘how’ gets a lot easier.
If you’re serious about making a change, take some time to understand how the change benefits you. Start with a pros and cons list of carrying on as you were, or making a change – suddenly it’ll become a lot clearer.
Enjoy the process
When you view your goal through tunnel vision, you quickly become unaware of your feelings towards the process at hand.
When you aren’t so focused on the goal itself, and enjoy the journey, you’re far more likely to stick to it. Naturally, we keep up with the things we enjoy.
If you’re looking to cut out a bad habit, such as unhealthy food, smoking or drinking, try replacing that habit with a new healthy and rewarding one.
Balance out your finances
Working to pay off debts that continue to increase with interest can feel like a never-ending battle. If you can’t currently afford to clear your debt in one go, consider a balance transfer credit card.
A new card will enable you to pay off debt on an old credit card, often with 0% interest. Once you’ve got the balance down to a reasonable amount, you can remain in control of repayments far easier!
Tools such as Noddle’s eligibility tool can help you find cards you’re more likely to be accepted by – with just a quotation search on record, it won’t affect your credit rating.
Make new foods your best friend
Feeling fatigued this Blue Monday? We’ve all been guilty of chocolate and sugary snacks over the holiday period – but they’re often the culprit of our afternoon crashes.
Fight the fatigue with a handful of almonds instead. They’re packed with protein and fibre, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Almonds also contain folate, iron and niacin, as well as being rich in magnesium and riboflavin – which are all essential to reducing fatigue and tiredness.
Consider speaking to someone if you’re feeling depressed
Is Blue Monday just the tip of the iceberg? It’s important to note the differences between “reactive sadness” and clinical depression.
If you are in a depressive illness, your thoughts and feelings go beyond one day in January. The symptoms of depression can vary greatly, from low self-esteem and tiredness, through to feelings of helplessness and physical aches and pains.
Not really sure? It’s always best to seek help. There are multiple resources online that can help you determine if you could be suffering from depression.
If Blue Monday is the last of your problems, seek help from a medical professional. Or for a little support closer to home, try speaking to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling.