Sigh. It’s that time of year again. Blue Monday is here, and across the UK people are shuffling around with faces longer than the River Nile.
For the uninitiated, this notorious tradition falls on the third Monday of January – the day scientists claim most of us feel at our lowest ebb due to a combination of terrible weather, the financial cost of the festive season, and the dreaded return to work!
The parties we crammed into the end of 2017 may feel like a distant memory now, but we don’t all have to be down in the dumps. Here are a handful of tips to kick-start your year and beat the blues.
Try something new
Part of the problem is feeling like we are stuck in a rut – new year, same old routine. So, why not shake things up a bit and try doing something you’ve never done before? It could be a sporty new hobby like fishing or five-a-side football, something educational to stimulate the mind like learning a new language, or even a radical step – skydiving anyone?
The point is, doing something different can be a cathartic experience, and combats that sense of falling into an all-too-familiar pattern.
You may discover a hobby that keeps you entertained for years. Or if it’s not your cup of tea . . . try something else!
Okay, so the gyms can see us coming a mile off every January and know we are desperate to shift the weight we piled on over Christmas. But putting that to one side, there is so much to gain from physical exercise, especially when we are feeling down.
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which interact with the brain to reduce perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling. Doing this on a regular basis – just 20-30 minutes a day – is medically proven to provide significant health benefits.
And don’t forget, it doesn’t have to be tmethe gym. Find nice routes for jogging or walking, and the whole experience won’t cost you a penny.
Plan your pennies and pounds
If you are feeling the pinch after an expensive Christmas and New Year period, you’re certainly not the only one. This is usually the most difficult time of year from a financial point of view, but the most important thing to do is not put your head in the sand and ignore the problem.
Unpaid bills or late loan repayments only make matters worse, so it’s wise to get ahead of the issue before it goes down that route. You can seek independent advice on money-related matters completely free of charge, and you’d be surprised at the way your finances can be transformed. It’s often a case of simply getting more organised.
Visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for information about free advice.
Keep your options open
If the job isn’t floating your boat anymore, there are two obvious options – sulk about it, or be proactive! We don’t always feel like polishing our CV or trawling the internet when we get home after a rough day at the office, but the harsh reality is that nothing is likely to change unless the problem is addressed head-on.
Putting aside just a couple of hours a week to visit job websites and making sure the CV is up-to-date will not only increase the chances of landing a new role, it will also make you feel better about your current situation because you know you are doing something about it.
Taking extra care to tailor your CV to suit each individual application will also put you in a great position to secure the post you want.
Ask for help
If you are concerned you have problems that go beyond the traditional Blue Monday irritants and feel worried about your mental health, don’t be afraid to speak up.
The stigma attached to depression and anxiety has been largely eradicated thanks to many years of awareness campaigns. There is no shame in admitting that you are unwell, and seeking help from the likes of a doctor, therapist and mental health charity is the first step on the road to recovery.
Visit www.mind.org.uk for more information about mental health and the options available to you.