Monday is a typically blue kind of day – kicking off another week of work is enough to make anyone feel down. But there’s one particular Monday that is said to be the bluest of all. ‘Blue Monday’ is the result of a “scientific formula” that predicts the day of the year when everyone’s individual woes come to a head, this year falling on 16th January. If you’re suffering from a particularly bad case of post-Christmas melancholy, here’s a few things to make next year’s equivalent a lot less blue.
1. Book a holiday
It’s pretty common knowledge that holidays are good for your mental health. Don’t try and convince yourself that the week and a half you got off for Christmas was a holiday: it was merely a break in work. If you go through every year purely waiting for that same short break in work to come around at the end, you’re going to get stuck in a very deep rut.
A holiday on the beach works for some people, but two weeks at a resort in Turkey every year can get very tired, very fast; until the point where you just assume ‘holidays aren’t for me’. Well the world is a big place and if you’ve ever had the slightest interest in a different type of holiday in a different type of place, now’s the time to go for it.
2. Sort out those finances
Go-getter Ned Flanders of The Simpsons had the right idea when he woke up to the sound of New Year’s fireworks and told himself “Oh, January 1st, better get going on those taxes, Neddy!” A great way to clear the clutter in your head is to figure out the accounts. You don’t have to be quite as assiduous as Ned, but his is a good direction to aim for.
Money issues are a huge source of worry for most people, but a simple bit of planning and budgeting can take a huge weight off the shoulders. Don’t be too frugal with yourself, but don’t blow the entire monthly honey pot in the first week, this will lead to anxiety and will make every following day a Blue Monday.
3. Banish those negative people
When you’re living for anyone but yourself, that’s when the pressure starts to build. Pressure, and the fear of pressure, can end up spiralling into a deep well of negativity, and if you find yourself at the bottom, your first worry will probably be ‘what are they going to think?’ When the people in your life have more of a say in it than you do, it’s time to make a change.
For the same reason that people go on a Facebook “friend” purge, and the reason that Aston Villa get through nine managers a season: you’ve got to get rid of the negativity. It might seem like a hard decision to cut out people who have been part of your life for years, but it’s an essential process to your own growth. Once you’re only left with people who fully support you in your goals, your goals are going to seem so much closer.
4. Do something you’ve always wanted to do
If you can’t count a single thing that you’ve done that’s been on your list since the last Blue Monday, you’ve got to do it now. The office or the home can become a very comfortable feeling over time, but repetition breeds boredom, stasis and eventually, and worst of all; regret.
You can take up a new hobby, get a pet, go somewhere you’ve always wanted to, quit your job; the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. Whether it’s a slight change of routine or a life-changing plunge into the unknown, you can’t put it off any longer. Procrastination kills ambition.
Volunteering is a great way to get things into perspective. We’re not talking about the kind of volunteering you do at the Olympics for free tickets to the hockey; we mean real, grassroots-level volunteering in a place that could really use your help. Working for no pay is a concept of the lowest relevance to our money-driven society, but freeing yourself of these constraints and diving into work that pays you in feels can be hugely beneficial.
Whether it be a cashier job at the local Oxfam, collecting and serving food for the homeless, helping to rehouse abused pets or completely upping sticks and teaching English in a rural Cambodian village, every job will help you to realise how lucky you are and how complaining over the most trifling of matters is so totally, utterly ridiculous.
6. Go walking
There’s a big cloud of positive statistics surrounding the basic act of walking. Doing so regularly reduces the risk of stroke by 27%, diabetes by 60%, some cancers by 20%, as well as aiding weight loss and preventing dementia. The most important of all though is that it makes you happy. Even a 30-minute walk can give your brain a nice big shot of endorphins, and your body a bit of vitamin D and a whole heap of energy.
This is a very small change to make for a whole cocktail of benefits. You can easily incorporate a short walk into your daily routine even if you’re super busy; you can’t forsake your own wellbeing. Whether this means getting off the bus a few stops early, taking the family dog for a walk rather than relying on someone else, going on a relaxing walking holiday or going full nomad and signing up for one of the world’s epic treks, it’s all in the name of health and happiness.
If you’re ready for the change then Headwater’s here for you. Beat the blues with a walk around some of the most beautiful places in the world, including the beautiful Camino de Santiago and the stunning Alps of Slovenia. And if you’d prefer the Headwater walking guides to show you all the best routes and sights, take a look at their guided walking holidays.