Twenty tips to cure a Blue Monday

cure a blue monday

Is Blue Monday really a thing? It may be true that January is a dull month. The weather is rubbish and the days are short, we are all feeling a bit skint after Christmas and maybe we have already failed our new year’s resolutions. If you are feeling a bit low this Blue Monday, here are some simple ideas to cheer you up and make you feel more positive.

Twenty tips to cure a Blue Monday

Go for a walk in the woods

cure a blue monday

For me, there are few things so uplifting as a walk in the woods, at any time of the year. You can find woodland to explore all over the UK through the Woodlands Trust. Also check out the parkland owned by the local council, which may also be wooded, and your local Wildlife Trust.

Bake some cakes

You don’t have to be Bake Off standard to make a decent cake. There is something so satisfying about transforming eggs, flour and fat into something delicious. You can cheer your friends and family up too by sharing your creations.

Crumb by Ruby Tandoh – one of the most successful contestants from the Great British Bake Off – will encourage you to be more adventurous in your baking endeavours.

Practice yoga

It is well documented that a regular yoga practice can make you feel better both physically and mentally. You can find a class by looking on the British Wheel of Yoga website. If you want to give it a try first, have a go at this gentle yoga practice on You Tube.

Learn to meditate

You don’t have to become a Buddhist to meditate, or even find a class. Instead there are various apps to help you get started, such as Calm and Headspace (both have free versions to get you started).

Meditation is said to lift  your mood, lower blood pressure, improve concentration and help you cope with stress. It’s not easy to begin with but if you are prepared to be patient and practice regularly you will soon reap the benefits.

Go for a bike ride

Can you remember how exhilarated you felt as a kid on you bike? Whizzing down hills, racing your friends and getting some great healthy exercise and fresh air without even realising?

If you don’t already have a bike you can find them cheaply second hand. You might even get one for nothing on Freecycle. Once you have one you can get from A to B much more cheaply than driving or using public transport.

Learn a new skill

What have you always wanted to learn? Blue Monday is a great time to challenge yourself to learn a new skill and find something to get your teeth into. Your local adult education college will run many hobby courses, from painting and photography to gardening and pottery. You can do free courses on all kinds of topics online through Open Learn  and also Future Learn.  The University of the Third Age runs a ton of courses for older people and also encourages you to share your skills.

Practice positive thinking

When you are feeling low, consciously practising positive thinking can be hugely beneficial. I love Normal Vincent Peale for his uplifting and powerful positive thinking messages. You can hear him on You Tube or purchase one of his books. I am currently enjoying You Can If You Think You Can.

Do some crafts

Sometimes doing something with your hands can be soothing and uplifting. The act of creating, whatever you make, could be enough to cure a Blue Monday. Knitting, sewing, card making, painting, crochet, cross stitch, candle making – the list of potential crafts is endless. What do you fancy?

Grow some sprouts

Sprouting your own super-nutritious seeds is easy at home. There is an easy guide on how to do it here. Your little sprouts are full of vitamins and antioxidants to help cure a Blue Monday! You can buy mixed packets of seeds such as this one from Amazon, which contains a variety of microgreens.

Phone a friend

In a world of the speedy email and the text , how often do we bother to pick up the phone and actually speak to someone? Ring an old friend and have a chat. He or she might have the winter blues too!

Book a massage

I have really come to appreciate the benefits of a good massage as I have had a painful trapped nerve in my neck for months. It’s super relaxing, alleviates your aches and pains and gets your lymphatic system working. If your finances don’t allow for a trip to the beauty parlour, try your local beauty college for a cut price one with a student.

Go for a swim

You might not be drawn to a cold, wet swimming pool when it is the middle of winter. However, the benefits of swimming might change your mind. Swimming allows you to exercise without putting strain on your joints – great if you are overweight or suffer from arthritis. Propelling your body through water is a brilliant way to strengthen your muscles and improve your fitness, and a good work out releases feel good endorphins.

Invite friends for a pot luck supper

When you feel low, being around friends is sure to cheer you up. If you don’t have a lot of spare cash, a pot luck supper is the ideal way to have a gathering without breaking the bank.

Start a gratitude journal

The simple act of writing things down that you are grateful for, and doing this regularly, can have a hugely positive impact on how you feel and your mental health. It makes you focus on the good things in your life, rather than on the negatives.

Have a clear out

You don’t have to be a Marie Kondo fanatic to reap the benefits of a good declutter. Choose a small area so that you don’t get overwhelmed. You could choose to do one cupboard, the whole of a room or to tackle a larger area such as an attic or shed. Whatever you decide to clear out, you will feel a renewed sense of control once you have done it. You an even sell some of your unwanted stuff to make some extra cash.

Have a home facial

Treat yourself to a nice face mask and have a home facial. Cleanse your face, exfoliate, give yourself a facial massage and finish off with the mask for a rejuvenating facial that will leave your skin glowing.

Buy yourself some flowers

cure a blue monday

Well, why not? You can get a nice bunch of flowers really cheaply from Aldi or Lidl to cheer yourself up.

Set yourself a budget

I know it’s a bit dull, but a budget can make you feel in control of your life and your finances. Just the thing if you are worrying about money after Christmas. There are lots of apps to help you budget now, such as Yolt or Money Dashboard. Alternatively, the Money Advice Service has an online budget planner that’s really easy to use.

Plan a trip

It’s great to have something to look forward to, even if it’s just a couple of nights away in the UK. Make sure you research prices online to get the best deal. AirB&B is always a good bet if you are on a tight budget. We are looking at using this to go to France in the summer.

Rehome a pet

cure a blue monday

Squidgy Dora loves a cuddle

A pet is such good company. We have two rescue cats and we wouldn’t be without them. They are guaranteed to give me a bit of love when I need it!  If you have the time to commit to a pet, why not check out your local rescue centre? There are all sorts of animals in need of a loving home.

What tips do you have to cure a Blue Monday?

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The power of self esteem

self esteemWe went to see a friend’s daughter, who is not quite 14, sing at an open mic night in a pub the other night. As she stood alone on the stage looking entirely self composed, I envied her incredible confidence and self esteem.

As her lovely voice echoed around the room I thought about myself at 14. I was painfully shy at that age, throughout my teens and into my twenties. There is no way I  could have jumped on stage even if I could sing!  I had very little confidence and, looking back, I can see how limiting that was.

If you believe you can, you can!

What I have come to realise is that If you don’t believe that you can do something you won’t even try, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This might mean you don’t revise for exams – what’s the point if you ‘know’ you’re not clever enough to pass? That opportunity for promotion at work? There are loads of people who are better than you who will go for it. You have no chance. University? You will never be offered a place and you don’t think you will manage living alone.

How many super successful people lack self confidence? Do you think they don’t have knock backs and doubts? The difference between those who settle for an ok life and those who strive for more is routed in their self esteem. So, their big idea was rejected or didn’t work? They will put it to one side and try something else. They will keep going because they believe that they will get there.

Running a marathon

Self belief will get you started and then give you the motivation to keep going. Marathon runners have likely trained for the event but as they approach the end it is the encouragement of those around shouting them on plus the little voice inside their head that says ‘I can do this’ that will see them across the finish line.

When your internal dialogue is telling you that you can’t achieve something, try switching it to ‘I can’. My auto response was always to doubt myself . I was so terrified of failure that I could barely begin, let alone stay motivated to achieve what I wanted. When these negative thought pop up, I recognise them and replace the though

Overcoming self doubt

Age and experience have shown me that I can beat those feelings. When I thought about training to be a yoga teacher my over riding attitude was ‘I can’t stand up in front of a room full of strangers and teach’! By then I had enough experience to put those feelings to one side and give it a go. Fortunately, the teacher encouraged me to start a class as soon as I could and within six months I was teaching at the local adult education centre.

When I divorced my husband I was full of self doubt. How would I cope financially? Could I manage everything alone? I found that I could. This is where my frugal journey began in earnest and this little blog was born.

This all had a ripple like effect on other areas of my life. When I was younger I would never stand up in a meeting to speak. Now I do that regularly. I doubt I will ever find it easy but I know I can. I had to do a group interview for my current job. Many people find this kind of situation terrifying but I quite enjoyed it!

Learning self esteem

Although many of us aren’t gifted with natural self confidence from an early age that doesn’t mean we can’t learn it. We can overcome shyness and lack of self esteem. We can replace each negative thought that pops up to undermine us with a positive one. We can develop awareness of our negative and sel-limiting thought patterns and retrain our brains to think differently.

I may not have been able to stand in the spotlight at age 14, but I can do it now! I am a work in progress and still need to give myself a talking to on a regular basis, but I am getting there! How about you? Has a lack of self confidence stopped you achieving what you want?