Beat ‘Blue Monday’: Tips for a Happier January

 January 18th marks the third Monday of January – and the date has the dubious accolade of being awarded the title ‘Blue Monday’. This is largely due to a combination of cold winter nights, the post-Christmas blues—and the unwelcome arrival of credit card bills—which are usually much higher in January thanks to a present-buying boom in December.

This year, thanks to the global pandemic and UK lockdown, Blue Monday is set to be even gloomier than previous years, but fear not, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to make the last days of January a little more colourful.

Beat the blues by baking

It’s often said that the smell of freshly baked bread or cakes can evoke happy memories and fill you with cheer. After all, who could feel sad with the aroma of chocolate chip cookies or banana bread filling the kitchen?

And you don’t have to be Paul Hollywood to create some tasty treats—this aptly named ‘Happy Cake’ is easy to make and utterly delicious—especially when served with zingy lemon curd to remind you of fresh summer days.

If, like many parents, Blue Monday marks the beginning of another week of home-schooling, why not allow your little ones to learn some practical skills and get them busy in the kitchen? Kids will love creating these amazing emoji cakes, which can be decorated with smiles, winks and cheeky grins.

Dress up and Zoom with friends

If you’ve spent the latest lockdown in baggy joggers and oversized sweatshirts, buck the trend on Blue Monday and invite your friends or family to a glamorous Zoom call.

Dress up in your party clothes, crack open a bottle of bubbly and pretend you are in an exclusive wine bar. Getting dressed up can boost your mood and reinforce your sense of self-worth.

Remember all those videos floating around social media of folks putting on their ballgowns and tuxedoes to take out the bins? Join them—and dress up to the nines to catch up with your friends on a video call to get back that feel-good factor and remind yourself that there is more to life than an elasticated waistband!

If you are looking for some glad rags check out the John Lewis website and reclaim your right to wear beautiful clothes.

Get physical

Being active increases the happy hormones in your body, so make a big effort to get out in the great outdoors for a long walk to blow away the cobwebs. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – a brain chemical associated with happiness.

If you are shielding, or don’t feel comfortable leaving the house, there are many ways to exercise from the safety of your home.  Why not join the kids in an energetic Joe Wicks PE lesson, or for a more sedate workout, check out these yoga videos on YouTube.

Pamper yourself with a home spa-day

Blue Monday is the ideal time to open all the smellies you received for Christmas and treat yourself to a steaming hot bath and a face mask.  Turn the lights down low, or light candles to recreate the feeling of a luxury spa at home and soak away the winter blues.

To truly pamper yourself, Ishga is offering this spa-at-home kit which contains invigorating organic body oil, a Hebridean sea salt scrub, relaxing bath salts and a seaweed candle.

Get a warm glow from your old photos

Thinking about all the things that make you happy can really help to boost your mental wellbeing. Maybe you could dig out your photo albums from the back of the cupboard and spend the day looking at photos of happy holidays and special family occasions.

If your photos are stored on your phone, scroll through them and turn your favourite ones into a glossy photo book. Bonusprint is currently offering 40% of all photo books until 26 January so now is a great time to get started.

Photo books also make a thoughtful present for a grandparent or loved one, especially when families can’t be together physically right now.

Clear out your closet

If you’ve been meaning to tackle your over-flowing wardrobe, then January is a great time to make a start—and you’ll get the feel-good factor that comes from ticking off a job on your to-do list.

Try on all your clothes and create a pile of clothes for those you wear and those that you don’t—you may even find some hidden gems at the back of your wardrobe that you’d forgotten about.

Pack up those clothes you no longer need and donate them to your local charity shop. If you have garments that you really can’t part with, but don’t wear often, then invest in some vacuum bags so they can be stored easily without taking up valuable wardrobe space.

Sing in the shower

For an instant mood-boost, treat yourself to a long, hot shower and belt out a few songs while you do so. Singing in the shower causes you to inhale an excess of oxygen and gives your lungs a real workout—which is a proven stress-buster!

We’re not sure that your family will thank you — after all a 7am wake-up call to an enthusiastic, but tuneless, version of ‘Shake It Off’ might not be to everyone’s taste—but you’ll emerge from the shower feeling energised and ready to face whatever the day throws at you!

Why not invest in shower-proof radio, which can connect to Bluetooth and pair to your phone, allowing you to stream your favourite tunes in the shower cubicle!

Indulge in Blue Monday

It’s okay to have a ‘duvet day’ occasionally, so why not wrap up warm in a cosy blanket and chill out on the sofa with a box set or your favourite film, ignore your phone and have the laziest of days in your PJs. After all, a little self-care goes a long way.