8 Tips to support your mental health on Blue Monday and beyond.
Jan 16, 2023
Monday 16th January 2023 is known as Blue Monday - the most depressing day of the year. Originally coined by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004, it falls on the third Monday in January every year. He came up with it after a holiday company asked him for a "scientific formula" for the January blues.
January is a tough month for many of us. It’s cold and dark, the days are short, and we’re broke after overspending at Christmas. We’re beating ourselves up as our new year’s resolutions to get fit, drink less alcohol, and be a better human being have fallen by the wayside. And the cost-of-living crisis this year is only adding to the worries.
January is also a peak time for breakups. Some couples finally split after making the decision to give the children one last Christmas together, others find that spending increased time together over Christmas is the final straw for the relationship and for others, they realise the continual arguments exacerbated by financial pressures are not sustainable.
Whether you’re going through a breakup, or feeling low for other reasons, here are 8 tips to help you support your mental health during this time:
- Surround yourself with people who light you up– Research has shown that emotions are contagious. We’re wired to mimic the facial expressions and moods of the people we’re with. If you’re going through a breakup, or feeling low, surround yourself with people who light you up, are fun to be with, and make you feel good about yourself. Their positivity will rub off on you. Limit your time spent with people who are negative and ‘mood hoovers’.
- Positive Emotions brainstorm– brainstorm all the things that make you feel good in your life. What do you love doing? What did you love doing in the past? What makes you laugh? Who do you love to be with? What have you always wanted to do? What couldn’t you do when you were in your relationship? What did you compromise on? Being engrossed in an activity such as gardening, drawing or cooking is fantastic for your mental health and can really help to overcome stress and depression. Doing something you enjoy probably means you’re good at it too, which helps to boost your self-esteem. Start to actively plan some of these activities into your day and week and notice how your happiness starts to increase.
- Focus on your health– Exercise is so important as it releases all the endorphins which help to make you feel good. You just need to move your body. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, but getting outside if you can, really helps as well. Think about how you’re nourishing your body with your food. Make better choices and swap junk food for more nourishing food as this all contributes to good mental health. Make sure you include time in your day to rest and recover.
- Acts of kindness– Kindness is the antidote to stress. It releases the hormone oxytocin, also known as the “kindness hormone” which helps you feel warm and connected to others. It has such a positive impact on how you feel. Be kind to yourself as well as others. If you have some spare time on your hands – think about doing some volunteering or set yourself the challenge of doing one act of kindness for someone every day.
- Gratitude – Gratitude directly increases your happiness levels and is a great way to improve your mood. It calms the mind and reduces all the negative emotions you may be feeling. It is one of the most used and well-known Positive Psychology interventions. It’s been proven to significantly improve wellbeing and reduce symptoms of depression. Keep a list of 3 things you’re grateful for every day for at least 3 weeks and you’ll start to notice a difference.
- Reassess your New Year’s Resolutions– Apparently 80% of us ‘break’ our New Year’s Resolutions by the middle of February – so chances are you’ve broken yours by now. Don’t use this as an opportunity to beat yourself up and feel worse about yourself. Try and learn from it. Did the resolutions you set really inspire you and were they realistic? Visualise what you want for your future and who you need to be to achieve that. Imagine what would your life looks like if everything has turned out in the best possible way. Set yourself some goals that will motivate you and stretch you - but make sure you’re not setting yourself up to fail.
- Have a digital Detox - Technology overstimulates your brain and long periods of use are no good for our mental health. Spending time stalking your ex on social media or comparing yourself to friends and colleagues is always going to end badly. You’re only ever comparing yourself to their highlight reels. Take some time away from social media and then audit your account to make sure you’re only following inspiring, positive, and motivating people.
- Get help– It’s not a weakness to admit that you’re struggling. If you haven’t got support elsewhere, then it’s important you find someone you can talk openly to about how you’re feeling, without the fear of judgement. Try a counsellor, support group or a divorce coach if you’re going through a breakup.
There are so many things you can do to support your mental health. It’s about empowering yourself and learning the tools and techniques that make a difference for you.
If you’re going through a breakup, then my bespoke 1:1 coaching program ‘Better than Before’ could be just for you. It’s full of the tools, techniques and strategies that you need to fast track your healing after your breakup so that you can start living a life that you're excited to wake up to again.
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