Cheer up this' blue Monday we've got some tips & tricks to enhance your mood and fix your Monday blues!
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is a term that refers to a day in January that is often seen as "the most depressing day of the year" because it falls on the third Monday in January. It is thought that the combination of feeling guilty about holiday overindulgences, post-holiday blues, and the fact that many people have broken their New Year's resolutions by this point, can contribute to feelings of sadness and low mood.
So whether you’re having a Blue Monday or just feeling a bit down on any other day of the year, we have some tips and tricks to help you get through it.
1 - Get out!
Get outside and spend some time in nature. Even a short walk or a few minutes spent enjoying the outdoors can improve your mood. Why do the outdoors have such a positive impact on your state of mind? Here are some reasons:
- The sights and sounds of nature can help to distract the mind from negative thoughts, and the fresh air and sunshine can help lift your mood.
- The sunlight can help to improve your body's production of vitamin D, which is important for maintaining energy levels.
- Engaging in physical activity in nature, such as walking, hiking, or biking, can help to improve your mood through the release of endorphins. These chemicals, known as "feel-good" hormones, can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Spending time in nature can also help to promote a sense of connection to the world around you, which can be a powerful mood booster.
2 - Get active!
Exercise or engage in physical activity. Physical activity has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while also improving sleep quality which contributes to a better mood.
3 - Slow down and experience mindfulness
Practice mindfulness or meditation. Taking a few minutes to focus on your breath or engage in a guided meditation can help you feel more present and calm.
By focusing on the present moment and letting go of negative thoughts and worries, mindfulness practices can help to calm the mind and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. By paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgment, mindfulness practices can help us develop a more accepting and compassionate relationship with ourselves which also helps to boost self-esteem.
It's important to note that the benefits of mindfulness and meditation may not be immediate and may take time and regular practice to be fully realised. It's also important to find a practice that works for you and to be patient and consistent in your practice.
4 - Connect with others
Spending time with friends and loved ones, or even just chatting with a coworker, can help boost your mood.
Social connections can provide emotional support. Having strong social connections can provide a sense of belonging, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. It also provides practical support. Having people to turn to for help and advice can provide a sense of security and make it easier to cope with challenges. It is especially powerful for personal growth! Building and maintaining relationships with others can help us develop new skills, learn new things, and grow as individuals.
Our favourite way of connecting? Around a cup of coffee of course! 😉
We might be biased on this opinion but we can all agree that there is nothing like a coffee date to properly catch up with a friend! More than that, coffee on its own can connect people through love for the beverage and mutual understanding of how crucial this substance can be to your day-to-day functioning. If you’re a dedicated coffee drinker you’ll know what we mean.
5 - Get enough sleep
This is an obvious one. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and low mood, so make sure you are getting enough rest.
6 - Drink coffee
Again, this could be slightly biased coming from us… but let’s not overlook some widely known benefits of drinking coffee. Here are some ways in which coffee can potentially improve your mood:
- Coffee can increase alertness and energy. The caffeine in coffee helps to improve alertness and energy levels, which can improve mood and overall sense of well-being.
- Coffee can improve cognitive function. Caffeine has been shown to improve memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions, which can lead to a better mood.
- Caffeine can also improve physical performance, which can lead to a sense of accomplishment and improve mood.
- Coffee can be a social activity. Drinking coffee with friends or loved ones can be a social activity that helps to improve mood through social connection and bonding.
Bonus TIP: Learn from Blue Zone Lifestyles
Ever heard of Blue Zones? Blue Zones are areas of the world where people tend to live longer, healthier lives. They are called Blue Zones because they were originally identified by demographer and researcher Dan Buettner, who used a blue pen to mark them on a map.
Blue Zones are characterised by several common characteristics, including a high number of centenarians (people who live to be 100 years old or older), a strong sense of community, a focus on healthy living, and a diet that is rich in plant-based foods. Some examples of Blue Zones include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; and Loma Linda, California.
Dan identified 9 common denominators to identify lifestyle habits of the world’s healthiest, longest-lived people. These include:
1 - Move naturally
Some of the world’s longest-lived people live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. In a sense, it’s about deviating from the mechanical conveniences of house and yard work and going back to basics.
2 - Purpose
According to Dan, knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
3 - Downshift
What the longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines or rituals that help shed stress.
4 - 80% rule
Essentially it’s about eating until you are about 80% full to keep a 20% gap open between feeling hungry and full that could be the difference between gaining and losing weight. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5 - Plant Slant
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets.
6 - Wine at 5 o’clock
We all deserve a glass of our favourite drink after a long day.
7 - Belong
Belonging to a faith-based community seems to increase life expectancy.
8 - Loved ones' first
By putting family first, ageing parents, life partners and children are receiving support and care that increases overall life expectancy.
9 - Right tribe
The social networks of long-lived people have favourably shaped their health behaviours. The world’s longest-lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviours, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.
To learn more about Dan Buettner’s research have a look at his article Power 9®
With these tips in mind, we hope your Blue Monday turns into a happy Monday, and that you will manage to improve your mood and enhance your lifestyle for a happier & longer life!