2019 is now upon, us and we have the first date pencilled in our diaries; today is official Blue Monday. A combination of the post-Christmas slump, a very stretched paycheck, and generally glum weather all contribute to what is said to be the worst day of the year for general wellbeing and mental health. Having struggled with anxiety and depression in the past, I am well aware how powerful a negative mind can be both mentally and physically and, while I do still get the occasional blip, there are several things that I do that really do help me create a slightly more positive outlook on life. Here are a few ways you can tackle the blues on Blue Monday…
Keep Mindful and Meditate
There is saying that the mind is just another muscle and need to be exercised every day. This is something I still need to improve on myself; apps like Headspace are a great way to compartmentalise stress and clear the mind of toxic thoughts, and just five or ten minutes of meditation has been proven to improve mental health. It’s often difficult to reinforce this way of thinking internally, so it’s much easier to use the plethora of podcasts and audiobooks out there. Alternatively, why not try reading a book; ink on paper isn’t trying to sell you a lifestyle or put pressure on you as a person, and reading is a great way to escape reality (unless your choice of literature happens to be the Daily Mail).
Grab A Pen And Paper
Here’s a five-minute exercise; start each day by jotting down two or three things that you are grateful for each time you wake up. Rather than focusing on any barrier, hurdles or general negativity coming your way, this will help start the day in a positive mindset. We are often so busy with looking forwards that we rarely take that time to reflect on what we have already achieved and what we already have. You may even find yourself smiling as you write these positive thoughts down; if this isn’t an indicator of your happiness then I don’t know what is.
Disconnect And Unplug
Don’t just take five, take an hour. Or two if you have the time. I live the majority of both my work and home life online so this one is extremely important for me; leave the phone at home and go for a walk. Get some fresh air or even go and do an activity which doesn’t involve your eyes being glued to the screen. Sport is always a great way to socialise and switch off from those anxiety-inducing triggers, but if you’re struggling to find anyone to meet up with then put the headphones on and stretch your legs.
Hang Out With Man’s Best Friend
This is a bit of a cheat option for me as I already have the best four-legged friend in the world in Pepita. Dogs have scientifically been proven to improve our moods, but you don’t need experiments or surveys to know just how better a dog will make your life. If you’re not a dog owner then why not head to the local park or sign up to a dog sitting app like BorrowMyDoggy; once verified you can find dogs in need of walks or company for the day and it’s a surefire way to put a smile on your face.
Don’t Ask “Why?” Ask “How?”
In times of despair and when it all gets a little overwhelming, it can be easy to keep asking yourself what the point is of doing certain things; “Why do we work ourselves so hard each week? Why can’t I do this?”. Instead, try to look at the How.If something is challenging, ask yourself “How can I do this better?”. If it’s been a terrible start to the week, ask yourself “How can I make this week more fulfilling?”. This simple shift in mindset will present you with new challenges, yes, but it’s certainly a more positive way to approach the hurdles in life. Focus on how you can succeed rather than why you might fail.