Today is Blue Monday, and news programmes, papers and places all over the internet are proclaiming it the lowest Monday of the year. Christmas is over, the bills ahve come in, the weather is blue and we are too.
Well, not this year. I’ve done well at keeping active, meeting friends who keep me boosted and enjoying life, including finding the gem of a 1930s orchestra playing Blue Monday above!
But if you feel likely to slide into a colour slightly right of green and left of violet, then now is a good time to lay hold of life and make your day a shade that suits you. Turquoise, perhaps, or ultramarine. I love lapis lasuli, prussian or duck egg. If a Monday has to be blue, then make it a blue you love. I’m hanging on for Red Monday, which is probably that Monday in July when I have had enough of summer heat and fire and desperately seek out my Christmas notebook to start again. And today I’m doing just a few small actions to make the day less navy and more cerulean.
Get Out Your Christmas Notebook and Have a Debrief.
I did mine in Evernote this year, with just a few points to bear in mind for 2023. I’m a sucker for table crackers, but none of the rest of the family are. I only need 3 sets: Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and for the Parents’ Meal. All else is wasted. And I either need cheap crackers with the inserts replaced, or to have a better class of crackers and a better classs of present. Pull back cars worked well at Christmas, when the table was cleared a little and we had VW beetles racing over ramps to see whose had the best torque.
Start A Christmas Savings Plan Now.
Christmas is just under 12 months away. Put away £20 a month and in December you will have £240 to spend on food, crackers and small items. Take it from me, though, put it somewhere difficult to access otherwise there will be a day in June when the money seems better spent then than December. If you, like me, know this to be a downfall, find someone you really trust and ask them to act as gatekeeper. No money until November is a good agreement. Of course, the more you can afford to put away the better. If you can bear to, make a rough estimate of how much Christmas cost you this time and split that into 10, then try and save as near to that as you can every month. Spread the cost, save the credit charges, stop Blue Monday 2024 from being a bad day. My savings go to Peter, who has a better fiscal nature than me.
Get Outside for a Walk.
There’s ony just enough blue sky outside my office for a handkerchief, but it will do. At lunchtime I’ll take a 10 minute stroll to the papershop and back, or at the very least I’ll stand at the window and watch the sky. In an ideal world, I’d be standing at a window giving out onto a wooded area with birds and squirrels aplenty chasing the food I’ve placed out for them. Mondays are supposed to be my day off, but exceptions happen.
Turn Off The News
Just for the day, the week, the month or the year. Put yourself on a news diet and turn your reading/viewing time to better use. I like listening to history podcasts (my favourite is The Rest is History, see below) or watching Tiny Home videos. I let myself listen/watch the morning news on radio or TV and then catch up on the paper review at 11 pm, just before bed, but otherwise the news, in January, is verboten. I’ve really enjoyed watching the tiny homes videos. There is something so appealing about watching people who have downsized beyond common sense into homes no bigger than 10 by 28 ft, and often smaller. It does lead to the question of ‘could I do that?’ which leads on to…
Declutter a Shelf
I may never really try and squeeze myself into a house no bigger than an RV, but at some stage we (Peter and I) fully intend downsizing to a smaller size house, and working out exactly how small we could go is a moot point. I was looking at my very many books this weekend, and wondering exactly how small a bookshelf I could have? At the moment we have about 10 Ikea Billy bookcases, full and half size, crammed with books and History magazines. If I could just cull some cookery books, save only the interior and minimalist books that spark joy and get novels, etc that I want to read in Kindle version alone…. could I get the bulk of my books onto one or perhaps one and a half shelves? January is a good inside month to start. And once I’ve achieved that with my books, perhaps I could move on to clothing, kitchen paraphernalia, craft supplies and memory boxes…
Plan Treats for the Year Ahead.
Today, as it happens, I have planned two meals out with friends and been offered a night away away alone (Jo, you beauty, I am taking you up on that offer!) with a Hygge Nook friend to explore Lincoln and Byron’s old home. Having good stuff planned for the year ahead is a good idea if the weather and wealth of the current moment leaves you unable to do anything else. I’ve also booked tickets for The Rest Is History Live at Salford, as a Valentine/Easter present between Peter and I.
Even were I penniless (which this year, thanks to careful planning, I am not) I would be looking into organising the free activities that make life worthwhile: tea with a friend, a walk in the local park with/without neighbour’s dog, or just a list of upcoming events to bear in mind for better days ahead.
Write out my Winter Wellness as a Chart.
I made my Winter Wellness List last week, but I’ve printed it out in full colour to stick up in my kitchen as a daily reminder to look after myself in spirit, body and mind. Small steps, taken regularly: that’s how Hobbits get to Mordor and back.
Indulge in Some Kitchen Alchemy
Make a lovely meal for tea (we’re having pork stirfry tonight, but I’m making a beef stew with dumplings for tea tomorrow. It’s a Hairy Bikers recipe, and as I mix, brown, stir and season I will say a small prayer for Dave Myers, with his cancer treatment, and any other people I know undergoing treatment for illnesses. There’s something so meditative about stirring a pot, and it seems fitting to pray for or to send positive thoughts to the people we love over a task that is so tied up with caregiving, sharing love and spreading health.
I’ve also got a hankering to make a marmalade and chocolate cake, from Kate Humble’s book, Home Cooked, which I got over Christmas. I love easy loaf cakes, and this one, with its combination of chocolate and orange, looks ideal for a wet Tuesday tea time break.
Take Some You Time.
It’s Monday, which means I can indulge in some Quiz Hygge with Quiz Monday. We’ll settle down after tea, with the cake and a cup of chai, to enjoy watching Only Connect and University Challenge. I may well multi-task: my hands are suffering in the chill this week, so a good slathering of handcream and a quick manicure might be in order. I’m probably going to go for an elegant pink this week, but I must admit the idea of blue nails for Blue Monday appeals! With a warming bath or shower, final chai before bedtime and a quick read of a ghost story (why did I think The Ghost Woods would make a suitable tale to read before sleeping?) I will be well ready to slip into slumber and wake up on… I don’t know? Turquoise Tuesday? Washed out Pink Wednesday? Fire Red Thursday?
Whatever you choose to do personally for Blue Monday, remember that it was initially just an advertising gimmick for a holiday firm. There is very little actual proof attached to it, and if you’re a naturally happy person it probably won’t matter. If you’ve got mental health issues, do please take the steps you need to help you. Don’t feel obliged to feel down, but take some time to check in on your current mental health. Perhaps Blue Monday should be a day to set out positive steps to help, rather than a day to wallow in past errors. Go, eat that cake, drink that tea and ring that friend you’ve been meaning to for weeks. January has a lot of hidden joys: go, find yours, be grateful for them and enjoy every shade of blue today.
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. Lent is a season of rituals and resets. The book has small and easy ways to make your life flow with grace and happiness, which lead to more hygge.
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human. And it’s always the little things.
And my Christmas books are still all available now to buy ready for next season:
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is the basic, all round Christmas hygge book, with advice and ideas on how to make hygge (the cosiest way to be mindful and live in the moment) a large part of all your celebrations.
Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas is about taking time to look after yourself at the busiest season of all and is only available in ebook, with its own advent calendar of selfcare ideas.
Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was my answer to Christmas in Lockdowns in 2020 but might (sadly) prove useful for a few more years to come. It has advice on celebrating small scale, and keeping a Christmas flexible. I’m itching to write a new Christmas book, on simplicity, frugality, minimalism and making the meaning of your Christmas more significant, but time, time, time…
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well.
The photo between post and promotions is a photo by Karen Cantú Q on Unsplash. I liked the scarf, the coffee mug held tightly and the hint of hope for spring to come with the little daisy. And the Header is the sky as seen from my desk today: clouds and blue sky together. Have a happy Blue Monday, and hopefully I’ll be back with more January happiness later this week!