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
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.
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
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
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
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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