Grey skies, freezing temperatures, the end of vacation and post-holiday blues -it can be hard to keep your spirits up in January! There’s a reason that the 3rd Monday of this month has been dubbed Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Is this a reason to stay under the covers and brood all day on January 17th? No way! This year don’t let Blue Monday (or any other day) dampen your spirits with these 10 ideas to lift them right back up! Forget Blue Monday and say yes to Happy Monday!
Blue Monday is meant to be the most depressing day of the year, but it doesn’t have to be!
1. SEEK THE LIGHT
With the lack of sunshine, vitamin D is becoming scarce as Blue Monday approaches. It’s too bad because this super vitamin has the power to boost the immune system and plays an important role in mood regulation! So, take advantage of every opportunity to get some fresh air and light, for example, by going for a 15 minute walk during your lunch break (don’t forget to apply a sunscreen!). If the symptoms of the winter blues persist, don’t hesitate to invest in a light therapy device that can increase the level of serotonin, an anti-stress hormone!
Functionalab Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $50 at dermapure.com
2. MOVE FOR FUN
Regular physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin, which is an easy way to boost your mood! “A healthy mind in a healthy body” is the basis and having fun while moving is the secret! Zumba, yoga or HIIT classes, tons of different options exist online and it’s a great way to try something new! Online training is not your thing? Skiing, sliding with your family, hiking, snowshoeing, walking or even a good old fashioned snowball fight, any reason is good to get active. Back home, make yourself a nice hot chocolate and wrap yourself in a big warm blanket. Bliss!
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
They say that the beginning of the year is a time for reflection. Here is a simple exercise: first, think about everything you have done for others during the past year (gestures, gifts, services, time spent). Now list what you did for yourself. Are the lists balanced? Chances are the answer is no. Taking care of yourself is important to create space for you to draw from when you need to take care of others. So, slip into a warm bath, light a scented candle, apply a face mask and …. Enjoy!
Functionalab Glycolic Acid 5% Mask, $85 at dermapure.com
4. KEEPING IN TOUCH
By nature, human beings need contact with their peers. That’s why the last few months have been particularly hard on everyone’s mood. There are many ways to connect, and thankfully, access to technology allows us to keep in touch instantly. Sending letters through the mail is unfortunately a dying form of communication, yet it has a comforting “je ne sais quoi” about it. Why not take advantage of this unusual time to create new traditions and send, for example, a letter a week to a loved one? Or find a pen pal! It’s true that this exercise requires energy and time, but you’ll quickly see how much fun it is, both for the messenger and the recipient!
5. PAMPER YOURSELF AND YOUR SKIN
With our harsh winters, our skin is inevitably affected. And because a beautiful complexion and healthy skin are good for your soul, you need to take care of it! Make an appointment at a clinic and treat yourself to some time just for you. A facial, a glycolic peel or a BELA MD are perfect treatments to maintain the health of your skin and give you a radiant glow. It’s a simple and pleasant way to brighten your skin and your day!
6. LISTEN TO MUSIC, BUT NOT JUST ANY KIND!
We know that music has a real impact on our mood. There’s a reason it’s in the movies -the heartbroken star listens to love songs over and over again while crying and eating a liter of ice cream (ice cream is beneficial though, see point 7!). The idea being to boost your morale, avoid ballads that are too melancholic and choose songs with positive (or funny) lyrics and a fast tempo. Looking for inspiration? A Dutch neuroscience researcher has developed an equation to determine whether a song will put you in a good mood. As a result, in 2015 he created the “Happiness Playlist” containing 10 songs that would make people happier, including Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, Abba’s Dancing Queen, The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations and Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl. A great start to creating your own Happy Monday playlist!
7. EAT COMFORT FOOD
Because there’s nothing like sharing a good meal to brighten up a day, give yourself a good dose of comfort by cooking a meal that really makes you happy! Why not take the opportunity to discover different flavours by trying new recipes? Treat yourself to a recipe book that makes you want to cook and get to work! And because the smell of a cake baking in the oven is so comforting, prepare a nice dessert and let the delicious aromas fill your home! Does the thought of baking bore you? Skip that step and go straight to the “eating” part by ordering what you really like at your favorite restaurant, it will brighten their day too!
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, $50 at chapters.indigo.ca
8. HAVE A GOOD LAUGH!
What better way to cheer up than to laugh? You can observe it after a good laugh: your cheeks turn pink, your body relaxes, and you feel incredibly good. Did you know that when you laugh, your brain releases endorphins, the chemicals that naturally relieve tension and put you in a good mood? It is also said that laughter is contagious and increases happiness and intimacy between people who share it, another reason not to deprive yourself of it! Just because theaters are closed doesn’t mean that you must miss out on the fun. Comedy shows on social networks or online and podcasts; there is so much online content available to make you laugh, take advantage of it!
Listen to a comedy podcast
Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe
9. FIND INNER CALM
When an anxiety-provoking situation persists, it is normal to feel oppressed and powerless. However, just like any other emotion, feeling stress and anxiety is only temporary and several tools are effective in finding inner calm quickly! This is the case with mindfulness, the concept of which consists of simply welcoming one’s thoughts and emotions in the present moment, without judgment. The different exercises it includes can help you modify your reaction to negative thoughts and thus reduce the effects they have on you, that’s something! Meditation is the ideal introduction to mindfulness because, in addition to being free, its practice is accessible and requires little time. Various scientific studies have also revealed its effectiveness in reducing stress, anxiety, and emotional fatigue and in improving concentration and sleep quality. It’s worth a try, isn’t it? For those who are new to the practice, there are various apps to guide you through your first attempts. Breathe in, breathe out… and off you go!
Learn to meditate with Headspace
10. SLEEP LIKE A BABY
According to scientific studies, sleeping well is the key to feeling less stressed and happier! While restful sleep promotes good physical, mental and emotional health, several factors can affect its quality. It is for instance recommended to avoid consuming caffeinated beverages, alcohol and heavy meals in the evening or engaging in physical activity late in the day. Also, to ensure a good night’s sleep, a good routine is essential! Try as much as possible to establish a sleep schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, practice a relaxing activity before going to bed and avoid screens at all costs for at least one hour before going to sleep. Setting up a bedroom that is conducive to sleep is also essential. Remember to set the temperature of your bedroom between 16 and 20ºC in winter and make sure you have a bed (mattress, bedding and pillows) that you feel comfortable in. Remember, you’ll spend almost a third of your life sleeping, so make the most of it!