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Busting the ‘Blue Monday’ myth

The third Monday in January (this year it’s 16 January) is known as ‘Blue Monday’ – often called ‘the most difficult day of the year’.

But it’s a total myth! The phrase was first used in 2004 by a travel company to help increase holiday sales in January!

The reality is we can all feel low sometimes, no matter what time of year it is.

Our moods go up and down for all kinds of reasons, including everyday stresses such as pressures at work, worrying about a loved one, financial concerns, or after a particularly stressful time of year.

The good news is that there are some small things we can all do to improve our mood, including:

  • Don’t take too much on
    This time of year is full of New Year resolutions and whilst it’s great to set some good intentions, setting unrealistic goals and not meeting them can leave you feeling a bit flat. Setting some small, positive, goals can really help – the key is to make sure they are achievable.
  • Plan ahead, where you can
    It’s often cold, dark, and dreary this time of year, so it’s nice to counteract this by putting some feel-good activities or plans in place. These don’t have to cost anything either – planning a date to chat with a friend on the phone, meet for a walk, start a new activity, or join a community group can all help.
  • Eat a balanced diet
    Eating a good mix of fruit, veg, and the occasional treat, can really help both our physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Get plenty of sleep
    National NHS guidelines advise it’s best to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested. Turning off your phone and other electronic devices ahead of winding down; avoiding caffeine, including foods like chocolate and drinks like Coke, tea and coffee; and trying some light stretching, yoga or mindfulness, can all really help you too.
  • Exercising regularly
    This could be going for a walk in the fresh air, attending a yoga class or a session in the gym. Just thirty minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week can really help boost our mood, wellbeing, and mental health.
  • Practice gratitude
    It’s sometimes hard to see the positive, so writing down three positive things that you’re grateful for each day (no matter how small), can help to give you a different perspective.
  • Talking to someone you trust
    Whether that’s friends, family, a work colleague, or GP; it’s good to offload and get the best support you need. Remember, you don’t need to struggle alone.

Feeling low often passes quite quickly, but if you’re still feeling low after a couple of weeks, it might be time to get some additional help. Find out more about how you’re feeling and how a free local NHS talking therapy can help.


couple having coffee at a table

Published date:

13th January 2023

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