Blue Monday, the third Monday in January (in 2022 it’s Monday, January 17th), is a day recognized as the most depressing day of the year. But is it true?
What Is Blue Monday?
January is just an all-around bummer month for many (it ranked #1 in our reader poll of the worst weather month) coming off the heels of a whirlwind, action-packed December.
Think about it:
- It’s been a little over 3 weeks since Christmas—that joyous time with lights, food, fun, family, and friends is now abruptly over;
- Credit card statements are rolling in, so you can see the financial damage done by said holiday;
- Waistlines appear to be rolling out, having magically expanded;
- It’s dark early, when you head in to work, it’s dark coming home.
- The cold icy grip of winter has us firmly in its clutches, making motivation to stick to any New Year’s resolutions of eating healthier and exercising more even harder.
- And let’s not forget the realization that the next day off is months away…
The list really could go on and on.
So what can you do about it?
First, you can tackle the items on our list of 10 Things to do in January (which we created before the pandemic0 to stay busy and feel productive, plus these 7 ideas will help ward off the Blue Monday blues:
1. Seek Sunlight – In many areas of the world, winter means fewer hours of natural sunlight, one of the root causes of the winter blues. (Some scientists theorize the lack of sunlight produces unstable and disruptive amounts of both melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood.) If it’s not happening naturally, look into purchasing a light therapy lamp.
2. Get Some Exercise – Indoors and Out (yes, even if it’s cold) – The benefits of exercise for the health of our bodies are well-known, but recent studies also show exercise increases our sense of well-being and focus, likely from a boost in serotonin.
3. Add Some Splashes of Color – Try decorating with colors that invoke a feeling of warmth, such as yellows, oranges, and reds–which all happen to be hues of the sun. A few bright throw pillows or a rug could make all the difference.
4. Plan Your Garden – Start mapping out a garden this year for vegetables and flowers. Even if you don’t have your own plot of land, you can still enjoy container gardening on your deck or patio. Get ideas here!
5. Grow Flowers Indoors – Try growing flowers inside your home for a pick me up. Hyacinths, crocuses, and narcissus bulbs all can be grown indoors in soil-less containers, bringing the beauty and warmth of spring even when the wind is whipping outside. Learn how it’s done here.
6. Be Sure You Have Adequate Levels of Vitamin D – Consider a vitamin D supplement during the darkest three months of winter. Research indicates a vitamin D deficiency can result in diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and even depression.
7. Set Your Sights on … Something! While we might not be able to go on that vacation to a warm locale just yet, there are other things you’ve no doubt been wanting to do. Why not buy tickets to an online book reading or concert? Having something to look forward to is a sure blues buster.
So don’t despair! Spring is just around the corner—a mere 9 weeks away. But we recommend, if you’re feeling sad and hopeless, please talk to your doctor right away.
Do you have any ideas for busting out of a Blue Monday? Share them with us in the comments below.