Next Monday January 16th is Blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year or so we are told.
Most of us probably feel fine right now. Yet Monday morning, on a quite possibly grey, cold day we will be told by all of the national newspapers and websites that we are depressed, that we overspent and overindulged in December and now we are miserable and blue.
Depression is not a word to be tossed around lightly.
Perhaps you did overspend in December? But you probably did that to give your family and friends a gift or on a meal or drinks which you enjoyed with them. Do you do it every month? No. Christmas is once a year ( thankfully ).
You probably overindulged too and maybe you gained a few lbs. BIG DEAL.
You may feel miserable, but for the majority of people reading this you aren’t depressed. Be thankful for that, there are course people who do suffer with depression, it is an illness which picks victims at random. But the media keep telling us that we as a nation are depressed and there are more people than ever before on anti depressants. You hear something enough and people start to believe it.
I have read a few articles ( linked below ) over the last few days about ways to inject happiness into your days and thought I would share a list of things that I have been doing to improve upon mine. Try them, after all, in the words of Dr Pepper..what’s the worst that could happen?
Upgrade your underwear drawer so every item is worth wearing on a ‘special occasion’. Then every day will start off feeling like one – I did this with glee I must admit. I like good undies so telling myself I was clearing out any substandard pieces and reinvesting all for my own benefit felt pretty good. And it really does make you feel great..such a simple thing to change. Don’t feel like you have to go crazy at Agent Provocateur either as most of the high street stores have pretty sets these days.
Change your aim – I find I focus on the end game too much, I want to hit a target and so I berate myself until I do or I am so much looking forward to the next time I get to visit a certain place or take a trip that I am missing what is in between. I am making my aims more achievable so I am feeling less of a constant disappointment to myself. Maybe I can’t get 100,000 readers a day by the end of the year but I can focus on making the posts I do write better for the readers that I do have. I won’t get to visit all the places I want to but my blog certainly helps me to see more of the world and for that I am grateful.
Make playlists. This is just something I do. Never underestimate the power of music. I have so many playlists for when I am cooking or writing or working out. I have music on most of the time although I also really appreciate silence ( possibly because I rarely get that as a mother of two small ones ).
Get outside. If you can manage to get outside for a little bit of the day try to do that..every day. You may think that a 10 minute stroll to the shop to get that pint of milk is making little difference but I assure you it is. If you can get out while the sun is shining even better as you soak up much needed Vitamin D.
Do one thing. I have such a long to do list at all times but the sense of achievement I can feel at crossing something off is immense. Yes, I have an actual pen and paper to do list, old school I guess but it just feels more real when it’s in ink. You won’t convince me to use an app for this I’m afraid. Put small tasks on your to do list as well as the complicated, difficult ones as it’s really important to be able to cross something off.
Do something for someone. Do this every day. It doesn’t have to be anything big and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. You can make someones day by reaching out to them, call a friend for a few minutes just to say hi, send an email or a text. Send a friend a gift for no reason, it doesn’t have to be expensive, maybe you spot their favourite chocolate in the shop and think how nice it would be for them to open that gift up from you. The pleasure is in the giving or just knowing you improved someones day. If you like to bake or cook then perhaps you could make a little extra next time you are in the kitchen and drop it in to a family member who may be in need of support. I promise you will feel good afterwards. Make sure you are giving without the expectation of receiving.
Find time to relax. If you are having a chaotic day with what seems like an insurmountable amount of work to do then it may seem like taking 15 minutes to read a magazine or an hour to watch an episode of your favourite show is a silly thing to do. Really it could be the most sensible decision you make. If you take time to indulge in a simple pleasure – for me it’s normally a bath or a book then afterwards you tend to feel rejuvenated and ready to crack on with your tasks.
Work out. This doesn’t mean spending hours at the gym, unless you want to. I tend to follow a youtube video or a basic squats/sit up routine and for the last 3 weeks I have made sure to fit it in every single day. I always feel better afterwards even if I didn’t feel like it before. Don’t overdo it at first as you will soon stop if you feel overly sore each morning but build up to it and always warm up.
Appreciate. How often are we told this? Appreciate what you have. But really..appreciate it. Have a good relationship with your siblings? Be grateful, they are your first friends after all. I couldn’t imagine being without mine. Healthy? Be thankful, so many aren’t. Have a job? A roof over your head? Enough money to just pop to the shop and not have to worry about whether you can feed your family for that week? For all of this I am grateful. The more you think on what you have to appreciate, the happier you will feel. If you can add in good friends, a job you can just about bear that pays the bills and people you love and who love you in return then you are wealthy in all sorts of ways.
Delete/Unfollow people who annoy or upset you on social media. Block if you must. How many times do you scroll along and see something in your newsfeed that really irritates you? Why let that continue to get you down? If you feel that it is too awkward to unfriend or unfollow then most of the social media channels have mute options so you can avoid the tension or negativity without offending anyone.
Declutter and donate. Ah the joy of removing bagfuls of things you no longer need or fit into from your life. I actually even enjoyed the decluttering..yes I am a little weird like that. Even better you can then donate it to charity so you are also helping others and you can definitely feel good about that!
So when Monday arrives and you are told it is blue.. be blue if you must but remember that blue is the colour of the summer sky and the most beautiful lagoons and oceans. Force yourself happy. You really are the only person who has control over your happiness. Do you have any ideas about how to inject happy into your life? I would love to hear them.
- Image by Annie Spratt.