Christmas is over, debts are piling up, and there’s nothing to look forward to but three more months of going to work and coming home again in the dark.
Welcome to ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the most miserable day of the year, due to hit us all on the 26th January. It must be true, it’s mathematical.
W = weather, D= debt,T = time since Christmas, Q = time since failing your new year’s resolutions, M = low motivation, Na = need to take action
Even a brief attempt to work through the ‘Blue Monday’ formula will tell you it’s nonsense. And no wonder – it was a travel company’s marketing ploy to get you book a holiday. But as with anything that grabs the public attention, there’s a kernel of truth amid the pseudoscience.
January is indeed a month when lots of people feel down in the dumps. If that’s you, here’s what to do to get yourself back on track.
Book a holiday
It turns out the original promoter of ‘Blue Monday’ had a point. What better way to banish the post Christmas blues than planning a holiday in the sun? And this time there’s some real science suggesting sunlight really will help you feel better. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is thought to be triggered by low light levels entering the eyes causing hormonal changes in the body that bring on lethargy and depression.
But if you do decide to go away – you may have to stay away. That’s because some SAD sufferers find when they return to the bleak UK winter their symptoms come back with a vengeance. If you’re booking a winter sun holiday, better make it a long one!
Get some fresh air
If you’ve got the blues but you can’t afford to jet off to warmer climes, there is good news. It turns out that an equally effective way to combat the seasonal slump is to get active. Thirty minutes vigorous outdoor activity three times a week is the prescription for a happier winter. According to Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, exercise is proven to combat depression, and getting out during the hours of daylight is an extra benefit that will also help lift your mood.
Not that sporty? It doesn’t matter what the activity is – take the dog for a lunchtime walk, stroll to the shops rather than taking the car. Do you have an open fire? Great – dust off your axe or log splitter and get busy – the exercise will banish the blues and help work off all that rich Christmas food too!
Take up a new hobby
It may be a cliche but January really is a great time to take up new challenges. And it’s also a time when local adult education colleges start promoting the new term’s evening classes. If you’ve always fancied yourself as a watercolourist, textile designer or wood carver, now is the time to make your dreams a reality.
And on a serious note, if you’re dissatisfied with your career, why not refresh your skills and qualifications by enrolling on a college course? Your local further education institution is sure to offer vocational courses that can give you the skills you need to make an important change. And don’t forget the Open University offer degree and postgraduate level courses that can open doors to new beginnings.
Join a dating website
Single? There’s no need to stay that way, so why not make 2015 the year you meet your soulmate? The Internet has made the dating game easier than ever before. Looking for love? Simply choose a dating site that offers the sort of matches you’re looking for and at a click of a mouse, peruse the list of possible partners.
There’s no longer any stigma involved in looking for a new relationship online, but you should still exercise caution. Make sure you arrange to meet your date in a public place, and always tell a friend where you’re going and what time you’ll be back.
Change your look
Need to refresh your image for 2015? A great low cost way way to reinvent yourself is to change your look. Check out some magazines or search online for some great styling ideas. January is the perfect time time to shop for clothes – not only are the retail sales in full swing but the Internet is awash with unwanted Christmas gifts. Feeling the financial pinch? Now is the time when thrift stores are inundated with clothing donations from lucky people with overflowing wardrobes.
Don’t forget your hair! A new cut or colour will give you the boost you need to see you through the dark months. And if all else fails, remember, spring is just a few short weeks away!