It’s Blue Monday again! Perhaps it’s a sign of advanced age, but it doesn’t seem like a year since last Blue Monday…. I’m at my desk writing a new book, so I have little time for writing a new blog post, but I read one I’d done on Blue Monday two years ago and the advice is still the same. Here’s the body of that text: the most important advice I can give you? Smile. Today will pass.
Today has been named Blue Monday. Officially the lowest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s interesting to note that, like so many days marked nowadays, it’s a commercial invention by a travel company to sell more holidays.
There is a formula:
where W=weather, D=debt, d=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing o
ur new year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels, and Na=the feeling of a need to take action. No units are defined.
And a lot of press & commercial interest, because whether it’s scientific or not, it is a fact that many people feel low at this time of year. I know I can be happy as Larry before Christmas, looking forward to something, busily squirreling the presents & decorations around. No probs for me then, but after Christmas I feel…. lethargic. Sad. Low.
I say ‘feel’, but I should say ‘used to feel’ because I have found, the last couple of years, that consciously following the Hygge philosophy has helped a lot. I accept that I’m going to be tired, or stressed, or sad, and cope with it through self-caring practices.
So, what are my top tips to getting through Blue Monday (and beyond!!) and enjoying life a little more?
- Plan something to look forward to. Anticipation is a beautiful state, so have a treat planned for later in the week. This could be as simple as coffee with a friend, a cinema trip or even a new project at work that you’re looking forward to. Don’t make it too far ahead, though: a week’s wait is good, eagerly anticipating that holiday in 6 months is not, because you’re not close enough to the event to generate the right kind of anticipation (the Christmas Eve kind, when you know there’s only one more sleep til Christmas!!) And don’t spend money on it if no money is one of the issues making you blue.
- Be kind to others. Seeing another person in need (even if that need is only for a warm cup of coffee at work) and acting on it gives you a mental boost. A team of researchers from Oxford and Bournemouth Universities has proven it, but says that the effect is only a little one, less than one point on the happiness index (1-10). At this time of year, every little helps, so I’ll take the 1 point and raise my happiness, thank you.
- Don’t accept it has to be so. Ask why you feel blue, and then reframe the question. What is it about these things making you sad? Can you do anything about any of them? Big issues like money, wealth and relationships are not going to be solved in a day, but you can make big plans and then take the first baby steps towards them. Sharing the problems and talking them through with a sensible friend can help, since talking about things can put them more into perspective. A problem shared really is a problem halved.
- Watch your language! No, I don’t mean don’t swear, I mean watch how negative or positive your language is. What you say is what you believe, so it may be worth consciously trying to be the positive, happy person you want to be. Don’t dis the family or workers that wind you up, don’t put yourself down, be a positive person. Our brain needs 5 positive statements for every negative one… that’s a lot of positivity, but I know we can do it!
- Smile. Though your heart is breaking, smile, even though it’s aching… (Charlie Chaplin) Yes, it makes your face ache and there’ll be times when it really is just pasted on, a smile does improve your mood. There’s time later on for expressing your true feelings. Today is not that day.
- Spend time with people who make you happy. That can be real or virtual people. I have a pretty full day ahead of me, but I’ve got the evening with my family and a couple of hours on the computer on Twitter and Facebook with The Hygge Nook and #hyggehour.
- Cuddle someone or something. Aside from my family, I’ll be hugging the guinea pigs. Good for stress, blood pressure and making me feel happy.
And there you have it simple… and free… ways to boost your mood. Most of them rely on just one thing: reaching out and making a connection with others. That’s hygge. Make the link, build the atmosphere, feel the benefit.
**I do want to say, though, that if you have a serious issue with depression or mood swings, these may not be what you need. They won’t harm you, but medical help in certain circumstances is best.**
I have a massive favour to ask….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
I’m working on my new book, Enjoying a Self Care Winter: Hibernation for Humans which should be out in the next few weeks, but until then you’ll have to live with my back catalogue.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
My other books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
If you buy any of the books through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.