“Blue Monday”, the so-called most depressing day of the year, is the name that the third Monday in January is now widely referred to as in recent years.
While there is little to no science behind Blue Monday, there are undoubtedly several different variables that can contribute to us feeling a little more down around this time of year than usual. Ordinarily, it’s a time where the weather is poor, where our Christmas eating habits are catching up to us, when our New Year’s Resolutions are beginning to fall through the cracks, where our credit card bills are sky high following a Christmas splurge and Summer holidays feel like an age away! This year, we can also add into the mix the Coronavirus Pandemic and being in lockdown, so there is no doubt, these are all considerable contributions and factors to determine this date as the most depressing of them all.
The reason we are addressing Blue Monday in this blog, is to make sure it doesn’t trigger a relapse for anyone in recovery, after all it’s just another Monday. But just in case anyone is feeling a little down, we have put together some tips below to make sure Blue Monday doesn’t get the better of you.
The very first thing you should do is have a safety plan in place just in case you do start to feel a little down. This is something we would advise throughout the year, but particularly for Blue Monday. In the plan, you should outline details for keeping your spirits high; exercising, reading, watching your favourite movie, anything that will help get you in a better mood.
Within your safety plan, it’s important to have a safe person that you know you can call at these difficult times for support. This can be an excellent way to raise your spirits and help prevent the risk of a relapse. This person can be a family member, friend or someone also in recovery, once they are someone you can rely on for the necessary support. It’s important to know in advance who your safe person is so you know who to call straight away in the event of feeling down or having a craving or desire to use.
A combination of eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and having a good sleep the night before, can all help keep spirits high and therefore reducing the risk of feeling down and the threat of a relapse on Blue Monday.
We recommend to avoid eating foods that are highly processed, as well as foods that are high in sugar or caffeine. There is a strong link between a lot of these unhealthy foods and feeling tired and lethargic. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein and make sure you aren’t letting yourself get hungry.
A good night’s sleep is also very important to keep yourself feeling well. We would recommend going to bed at a reasonable time the night before and allowing yourself enough time to unwind and relax, without using screens, before trying to go to sleep which should help you feel better for Blue Monday.
Getting out in the fresh air to exercise or even a short workout, we guarantee will lift your mood. We release endorphins while we exercise which is scientifically proven to release positive feelings in to our body’s and make us feel better. We don’t need to run a marathon to exercise, a couple of short work-outs can make all the difference. Even getting outside to the back garden for some fresh air will already make you feel better. If possible, going for a walk is a great option to get out of the house and to get some fresh air. Just make sure to always maintain social distancing with others. If you can’t get outside, make sure you open your curtains as soon as you wake up to leave all the natural light in.
Taking care of yourself in these ways will help you feel better both physically and mentally to ensure Blue Monday won’t get the better of you.
It may be more challenging at the moment due to the lockdown but avoid the feeling of isolation by reconnecting with friends, family and loved ones. We would advise communicating with people several times throughout the day, even a simple text, to make sure you keep spirits high and put things in perspective. If you have friends or family you haven’t spoken to in a while, there’s no time like the present. You might be helping them get through their Blue Monday also. While we can’t visit each other in person at this time, we have more methods of staying in touch now than ever before with phone calls, video calls, messaging apps, social media, email and more! If you haven’t tried video calling before, maybe now is the perfect opportunity to learn. It’s an excellent way of staying connected with loved ones and will no doubt keep your spirits high.
Our final recommendation to ensure Blue Monday doesn’t get the better of you is to do just one thing in the day that’s new, different or out of the ordinary for you. We may be restricted with what we can do at the moment with the lockdown, but it doesn’t have to be a sky dive or something extravagant. It can be something simple such as making a list of 10 things you are grateful for in life or doing a good deed. There’s nothing like some positivity or good karma to lift your spirits. Why not even learn a new skill or find a new recipe to make something delicious to eat, the options are endless, but that one simple something different can make a big difference to your Blue Monday.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information at 021 488 7710 (Cork office), 01 639 2962 (Dublin office) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you.