10 Ways to Feel Happy on Blue Monday

10 Ways to Feel Happy on Blue Monday

After the whirlwind of the holiday festivities – which seem to pass by in a flash, don’t they? – the bleak reality of January hits us like a tonne of bricks. We have to go back to our daily routines, we’re probably skint from Christmas, it’s cold and dark outside, and most of us are on a diet after emptying the house of all the leftover Christmas chocolate. No wonder some of us get the January Blues! In fact, with the help of a slightly bizarre equation, one psychologist has worked out that the most depressing day of the year, otherwise known as ‘Blue Monday’, falls on the 15th of January.

What do you make of this? Is there any truth to it, or is it bunk? Well, the team here at Littlewoods.com have made our decision: we’re going to protest against this dreaded day with everything we’ve got! We’ve come up with our best ideas about how to feel happy on the so-called “most depressing day of the year”, and we want to share them with you to help beat those January blues! Have a read, and tell us what you think! What do you do to keep yourself in a positive mindset, especially at this time of year?

1. Wrestle that stress under control

Stress: it’s detrimental to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Studies show that it can affect your sleep and even make you gain weight! No, thanks! This is the time to figure out how to deal with anything that causes you unnecessary stress, then give it a swerve! We all have unavoidable stresses in our lives and things we can’t control. But it’s important to find ways to reduce the amount of stress we feel from day-to-day. If your job is your main cause of your stress, why not talk to your boss about reducing your work load, working from home or changing your work hours? Any change in routine can be beneficial. Or use the quiet nights in January to research other jobs and think about your career goals. Stressed for time? Work on organising your time – outside of work too – and ensure that you are making time for yourself to do the things that you enjoy and have a positive effect on your well-being. Spend more time with your friends and loved ones, and tell them how you’re feeling. Sometimes we just need to vent.

2. Get moving

A lot of us are on fitness and weight-loss kicks right now, and that’s great. But exercise is just as important in helping you to feel more comfortable in your own skin, to gain strength and confidence, and to know that you are doing something good for yourself through exercise. The fact is that sweating it out at the gym or outside makes our brains release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that instantly improve our mood! And who wouldn’t want that?

3. Get in touch with nature

Studies have shown that living near green spaces is associated with better mental health. From urban parks to country lanes, make time to go outside and clear your head. If you live near the ocean, stroll along the shore and listen to the sound of the waves; if you’re close to the hills, go for a ramble and enjoy the silence. Look at the stars at night, start getting your garden ready for spring, pet a dog – and just remember there’s a big world out there.

4. Yay, more sleep is good for you

A lot of us skimp on sleep during the week, then lie in at the weekends and then feel sluggish all day. A quality snooze-session, and a consistent one, is vital for overall well-being and happiness. Try going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you’re in the habit of getting enough hours sleep for you. It’s recommended most adults get 7-9 hours a night. You’ll feel so much better and what’s more, sufficient sleep can boost your immune system so you’re less prone to those nasty colds this time of year.

5. Ohm! Get Zen with Meditation or yoga

As hard as it may be to clear your mind and the concept of meditating may seem rather daunting – the multitude of health benefits associated with practicing these ancient arts are worth giving it a go. Meditation and yoga are said to bring greater happiness to individuals, plus loads of health benefits, and with plenty of free tutorials online, it is easy enough to practice it in the comfort of your own home. At the very least, look up “relaxing meditation music” on YouTube, apply a soothing face mask, and pretend you’re at the spa.

6. Jot it down

Negative thoughts are nasty, powerful and easy to dwell on. And the more we repeat them to ourselves, the more we believe them. Why not try writing all of your negative thoughts down on on a piece of paper, clearing your mind, and disposing of the list afterwards? Or start to journal your thoughts and emotions and the things that are troubling you. It can be really very cathartic. And who knows? You might catch the writing bug – take a notebook or your laptop to a café and spend some time getting creative. You might become the next JK Rowling!

7. Create a playlist

Listening to music can help reduce stress, leading to greater happiness in general. Why not create a playlist of your happy songs to listen to when you’re feeling down? A dance mix might be especially useful – it’s hard to be blue when you’ve got your boogie shoes on! Share your playlists with friends on social media, and ask for theirs in return. It’s a fun way to stay connected after the festive party season is over.

8. Laugh and enjoy yourself

Humour has a way of making worries seem less important, and trying to see the funny side of situations can make you cope easier. Laughter also signals your brain to release some of those jolly endorphins that make us feel so good. Get a pub quiz team going, invite some friends over for a board game night, or binge-watch your favourite comedies.

9. Spread joy

Happiness is contagious! Even if you’re not feeling on top form – in fact, especially if you’re not feeling on top form – showing kindness to others and remaining positive is a wonderful way to make peace with your own troubles. Volunteer to help those less fortunate, give a compliment to a friend or stranger, offer to visit someone you know has been going through a tough time – not only will it make them feel good, but you will feel so much better too.

10. Self-care

Sometimes we’re so busy looking after everyone else, we forget to look after ourselves – or we feel guilty or selfish for having our own needs too. The thing is, it’s so important to make time for yourself. And you certainly can’t look after the family, the home, the coworkers and the dog if you are feeling down. Go on, treat yourself to a little thing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money – just try something that makes you feel a bit pampered, like a new book, a bit of makeup or having a bubble bath. Sit back and relax – you deserve it.

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