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Tips to boost your mood on Brew Monday

January 15, 2024
Louise Wills

You’ve probably heard of Blue Monday, but what about Brew Monday? The charity, Samaritans, is reframing Blue Monday - taking a day that focuses on the negative and turning it into something more positive.

Blue Monday, which takes place on 15th January, is said to be ‘the most depressing day of the year’. First coined by a travel company in 2005, the date is worked out using a formula which combines various factors that can make us feel down: weather, debt, time since Christmas, failing to keep New Year’s resolutions, and low motivation.

The formula used to calculate the date isn’t exactly scientific and some people think that the concept of Blue Monday can be damaging. 1 in 6 people live with depression and by suggesting that there’s one day that’s more depressing than others is over-simplistic and risks trivialising the disorder.

While the accuracy of Blue Monday is up for debate, it’s undeniable that January brings with it certain struggles that can make us feel gloomy and lethargic. It’s a ‘perfect storm’ of dreary weather and short days, a lack of money after festive expenses and a long gap between paydays, and the anti-climax after the festivities.

Brew Monday aims to combat the ‘January blues’ by encouraging people to get together with their friends, family or colleagues over a hot drink and check in on one another. Talking to others can make us feel less alone; it feels good to get things off your chest and have another person listen. It can also help us to process our thoughts and emotions, which can help us to see things more clearly.

If you feel that your spirits are flagging in January, or you’re experiencing low moods, here are some simple steps that you can take to protect your mental health.

Stay connected with friends and family

For many of us, Christmas is a social time of year, where we’re meeting up with friends and family. So after the holidays, things can often feel a little quiet. While it can be nice to have a break from back-to-back plans, make sure that you stay in touch with people, even if it’s just a text or a phone call. If you’re struggling with loneliness, there are some tips and resources in this blog.

Get into a healthy routine

Never underestimate the power of a good routine. Sticking to a routine can help us to feel more organised and on top of things, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Be sure to implement healthy habits, like getting plenty of sleep, waking up at a regular time, eating a balanced diet and making time for self-care. Remember, consistency is key.

Make plans for the future

Planning things to look forward to can help us to feel more optimistic and give us a sense of purpose. Write a list of things you’d like to do and who you’d like to do them with. The ideas can be big or small, from walking with a friend to booking a holiday. When the time comes, make sure that you keep your commitment, even if you’re feeling low - you’ll feel better afterwards.

Spend time in the fresh air

Spending time in nature can improve our mood, help us to feel more relaxed and reduce feelings of stress and anger. Try to get out in the daylight every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Your body and mind will appreciate the sunlight and it’s a good chance to spot the first signs of spring - watch out for snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils.

Keep a gratitude journal

Keeping a gratitude journal can help to cultivate a positive mindset. Rather than dwelling on negative feelings or situations, it encourages us to shift our focus onto the things we’re grateful for. At the end of each day, write down three good things that have happened or that you’ve heard about. These can be absolutely anything - you may have enjoyed a TV programme, learnt something new or seen a beautiful sunset.

Watch out for negative thoughts

When we’re feeling down or anxious, our thoughts can become negatively skewed and we might slip into a vicious cycle. Our thoughts, behaviours and emotions are all connected, so if we think ‘Blue Monday is going to be a bad day’, this can have a knock-on effect on the way we act and feel, which can create more negative thoughts.

Aim to be present

Sometimes, we can find ourselves constantly worrying about the future - jobs we need to do or the uncertainty of a situation. This can mean that our minds are always somewhere else which makes it difficult to embrace the here and now. Practice living in the present by noticing the details around you and focusing on how you feel at this point in time.

If you think that you might be struggling with depression, it’s a good idea to seek support. You can talk to your GP about what help is available, or you could try talking therapy. ieso offers online CBT, which is proven to be very effective at treating depression – you can find out more about that here.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.

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