Blue Monday: Experts Share 20 Tips To Overcome Post-Christmas Blues Away
8 minutes read
Blue Monday is believed to be the gloomiest, saddest and bleakest day of the year. So, if you noticed your emotions dipping, energies slumping or just feeling bluer than blue, Blue Monday might be to blame.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is considered the most ‘depressing’ day on the calendar. But the good news is that the ‘Blue Monday‘ phenomenon is just a product of a successful marketing campaign. Scientists have debunked it several times, as no studies have backed up any of its claims.
The Blue Monday concept resulted from a travel company’s desperation to sell more holiday packages during winter. They worked with psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall to create an algorithm based on many different stressors that affected our emotions. They concluded that every third Monday of January is when people feel at their lowest.
While there’s no truth, January can be challenging for all of us. We’re trying dry January or veganuary; balancing the finances after the excesses and failing to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Then there’s the weather – grey and gloomy with no twinkle of Christmas sparkle to lighten our days. All of these can lead to depressing results.
Then there’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is frequent in the winter months.
SAD is estimated to affect about two million people in the UK annually. The Northern Hemisphere countries (Canada, Russia, Europe, US and UK) are particularly impacted by winter temperatures and reduced sunlight.
When is Blue Monday?
In 2023, Blue Monday falls on the 16th of January.
20 Expert Ways To Beat Blue Monday
While Blue Monday hasn’t been scientifically proven, it can be difficult not to feel anything but blue this time of the year. So, we asked leading experts to share 20 tips to overcome post-holiday blues and spark joy all the way!
Richard Reid, Psychotherapist and CEO of Pinnacle Wellbeing Services
Make the day all about you
Pick activities that are replenishing rather than depleting. For example, do something nice and pampering or relaxing on Blue Monday. And try not to feel guilty about putting yourself first.
Act like it’s spring
Sometimes, the thought that Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year can make you feel lower than you are. What would you do on a spring day that you wouldn’t necessarily do on a winter day? Acting ‘as if’ can be a temporary measure to get you through a difficult moment.
Reach out to others
When you’re low, it can be tempting to keep yourself to yourself, not wanting to bother other people with your thoughts and feelings. But keeping everything in can make you feel worse and even more isolated. So instead, reach out to a friend and express what you’re feeling. People are often flattered to be asked and to be there for you.
Lucy Mcclure, Clarins Treatment Training Development Manager
Add a splash of colour
Don’t let the winter chill beat your skin; keep it smooth, nourished and pampered with the best moisturising body lotions. Try Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion, £36. It wraps the skin in shea butter for instant comfort.
Charlène Gisèle Bourliout, Certified Health and Business Coach and Professional biohacker
Go out of your comfort zone
When feeling ‘blue’, do something challenging that pushes you to get out of your comfort zone. Dare yourself and do cold water immersions, such as ice baths, a cold shower, or a dip in a cold sea or lake. Check out our guide to Cryotherapy here.
Or sign up for a new, exciting, out-of-the-box exercise class or a hobby you’ve always wanted to start. Dance classes, such as tango, salsa or ballroom, are excellent for releasing some feel-good hormones.
Challenges release endorphins, which make us feel good, adrenaline boosts focus, and dopamine enhances our motivation. The bonus of attending a dance class is it increases oxytocin from human connection and makes us feel connected and valued.
Corina Zanner-Entwistle, Mental Health and Burnout Prevention Strategist.
Reflect on what you are grateful for
On Blue Monday, take some time to focus on the things that went well last year – what were your successes? Happiest moments? And what were you pleased with? No matter how big or small. Just take a moment to think about those things and enjoy reflecting on them.
Find something to laugh about
Laugh with a friend or family member, watch a funny video clip or movie, think about funny moments in your life and relish those moments – and notice how much better you feel.
Spend quality time with the people that matter most
Communicate, keep in touch, say “I love you”, and let them know you care and appreciate them.
Natasha Alonzi, Registered Nutritional Therapist and Wellbeing Coach
Always ask yourself: “Where is my protein?”
Protein helps boost serotonin and dopamine. These hormones influence our ability to feel happy, motivated, and relaxed. On Blue Monday, why not chow down on seeds, nuts, eggs, plain natural yoghurt, kefir and avocado at breakfast. Good snacks include – almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or hummus. And good protein sources are chicken, fish, red meat, beans, pulses, and peas.
Beat depression with Omega-3
60% of the brain is made of fat. Omega-3 is an essential fat you can only obtain from your diet. A deficiency symptom may include depression, fatigue, and memory problems. Think SMASH – Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines and Herring. Grass-fed meat is another good source. If you are vegetarian, flaxseeds and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3.
Find ways to relax and embrace the winter season
Warm baths are especially great in the winter. Add Epsom salts to your bath; a small study showed that magnesium could be absorbed through the skin. A tip is to lie for 20 minutes for maximum absorption, and when you get out, pat yourself dry with a towel. Magnesium is involved in many body functions; one of its leading roles is the relaxation of nerves and muscles, which supports mood and sleep.
Anne Murray, Qualified Aromatherapist and Holistic Therapist
Renew and reset your mind with essential oils
Breathing in an essential oil will affect the brain within seconds, yet the neurotransmitters released when we smell an aroma continue to benefit us for many hours afterwards.
To lift your mood, try a classic aroma like lemon – it has excellent anti-depressant and uplifting effects and is known to help with SAD syndrome. In addition, it gives a natural energising morning lift and boosts the immune system, which can be most welcome to beat Blue Monday and beyond.
Do some breathwork and meditation
At night, soothe your spirits with frankincense. It can lift your mind above your worries and help banish repetitive negative thoughts. Try using it in a diffuser for 30 minutes before bedtime. Frankincense also calms and deepens the breath; using it alongside breathwork or meditation practices can do wonders.
Bring positivity on-the-go
For a blast of positivity on the go, try an aromatherapy rollerball that you can keep with you and apply to your wrists or the base of the throat. On Blue Monday, Choose a clearing aroma like spearmint with some mood-balancing lavender to chase away winter blues and instil feelings of clarity and purpose.
Word of Caution: If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or experiencing any respiratory conditions such as asthma, check first with a qualified aromatherapist before using any essential oils.
Try: Eau Dynamisante, £39. It has ginseng essential oil, proven to uplift and increase energy, and patchouli, which provides feelings of relaxation and helps ease stress. While the lemon essential oil energises and boosts serotonin, the happiness hormone.
Paula Sheridan, Mentor, Coach and Founder of Unwrapping Potential
Work on your resilience
Think about your resilience as an energy bank account. There will be things that top it up and things that deplete it. Winter and festivities and all that holiday stress might be fun, but they are also exhausting. So what are you doing to recharge your energy after the December break?
Think of things that can boost your dopamine and increase your energy levels, whether exercising, watching your favourite film or taking walks.
If you want to also engage in conversation – borrow somebodies dog, take dog treats with you – you’ll be surprised how easy it is to spark up a conversation with the help of a four-legged friend. Or volunteer – organisations like the Scouts are always looking for helpers, as are local charity groups and fundraisers.
Anticipation is powerful
Anticipation brings its dopamine kick every time you think of something you anticipate. So, plan some things now to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be big, just something you are looking forward to.
Breath in some fresh air every day
As cliché as it may sound, breathing fresh air promotes a sense of happiness and significantly boosts your mood. Purposefully going out to breathe fresh air, looking around and appreciating your surrounding is very good for recharging the batteries.
Learn to say no to some things
Preserve your energy for things that will restore you, and if that means saying ‘no’ to other things, so be it.
Seek professional help
There are occasions where Blue Monday is more than just feeling a bit low. If someone is no longer able to enjoy things they usually want, has a continuously low mood or sadness, is avoiding socialising or just not doing what they typically do, then it could be time to see a doctor.