Top tips for getting through the most depressing day of the year

Get your daily dose of natural daylight

Top tips for getting through the most depressing day of the year

It’s claimed that the 21stof January is the most depressing day of the year, and a combination of factors explain why. The beginning of a new year can be daunting, and, once the festivities and the excitement of new years eve has worn off, Christmas spending catches up with us and payday can seem like a lifetime away. By the 21st, you’re likely fed up, low on cash and it’s unlikely the weather is helping to uplift your mood; it’s no wonder the day has been named the most depressing day of the year, ‘Blue Monday’.

So, what’s the science behind the day, that usually falls on the third Monday in January? British psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall came up with a formula in 2005 that explains why we feel a little down this day. The formula ([W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA ) may look a little confusing at a first glance, so here’s what the letters symbolise:

  • W = Weather
  • d = Debt
  • T = time since Christmas
  • Q = time since failing New Year's resolutions
  • M = low motivational levels
  • Na = low motivational level

Blue Monday is fast approaching, so here’s what you can do to overcome feeling blue:

Get a good night’s sleep– getting a restful night’s sleep on a Sunday night can have positive effects on your mood come Monday morning. Instead of waking groggy and grumpy, have an early night and remove any distractions from your bedroom, and the chances are you’ll wake feeling refreshed and ready to attack Monday with a positive mindset.

Smile more– from the outside, your mouth turns up, your cheeks lift and eyes crinkle. But, that’s not where the effects of a smile stop. Cracking a smile can trick you into happiness by causing a powerful chemical reaction to happen in your brain that can genuinely lift your mood. Do more of what makes you happy on Blue Monday and just keep smiling!

Get your daily dose of natural daylight– exposure to daylight is great for our wellbeing. It has been found to boost sleep quality, reduce daytime dysfunction and improve quality of life. So, take yourself for a lunchtime walk to reap the benefits. You also may want to consider the ways to boost natural light in your home, such as re-organising furniture, the addition of skylights and introducing bi-fold doors from Quickslide.

Avoid stress – running around on a Monday morning in an attempt to get ready for work and make it to the office on time is sure to send your stress levels through the roof. Instead, prepare yourself over the weekend. Lay your clothes out and ensure your work bag is packed, you could even set your mug out with a teabag, ready for a morning brew to start your day; you’ll thank yourself when you have less to do come 7am!

Relax with a brew– The Samaritans are encouraging people to get together with friends and family over a brew to beat the January Blues. Chat with them about a dream holiday you’re considering booking for 2019; having something to look forward to and get excited about is a great way to motivate yourself through tough times. 

Poppy Watt