Blue Monday 2021: Top Tips for Fighting the Winter Blues
January 18, 2021
You might know Blue Monday as a catchy little tune by New Order - and if that’s all it means to you, you’re one of the lucky ones!
For many, Blue Monday is an annual occurrence that makes them feel low, sad, deflated, or generally not their usual sunny selves. Blue Monday is said to occur on the third Monday of January each year and is known as “the most depressing day of the year”. But why - and what can we do about it?
What is Blue Monday?
While there is no guarantee that any one day is more depressing than any other, there are several reasons why the third Monday in January is considered to be pretty bleak. The theory behind Blue Monday’s depressing tendencies is that by this point, we’ve lost all the festive momentum of December, we’re sick and tired of the winter weather - and of course, it’s a Monday, which can be especially gloomy after a lovely weekend off!
While Christmas 2020 wasn’t the usual festive occasion for many, it was still a beacon of hope to look forward to at the end of a particularly tough year, and so it’s understandable that we feel low once it’s all over. When the tinsel comes down and all the Quality Street are gone, it’s easy to feel disheartened about the rest of winter left to tackle before the cheer and warmth of spring.
Plus, of course, there’s those pesky New Year’s resolutions - by January 18th, a lot of us will already have given up or failed them, which is why Team AC are pledging to make small, achievable changes this year - you can read about those here. All in all, it’s hardly surprising that the winter blues start to creep in around January 18th.
How to Beat the Winter Blues
But we’re not just here to list all the reasons you might be feeling blue. Here at Absolute Collagen, we’re a positive and supportive bunch, so we’ve put together some handy recommendations for how to beat the winter blues.
Check in with friends and family
We’re sure you don’t need reminding of this one, as 2020 was all about checking in with loved ones when we couldn’t be together, but a problem shared is a problem halved. If you find yourself feeling low, speak to a trusted friend or loved one - it could be as simple as chatting about something else to distract you, or sharing your low feelings so you don’t feel so alone.
Why not give someone a call or chat with them via video? Or maybe you could play a game online together - a competitive round of online Scrabble could be just what you need to take your mind off the winter blues! Or if you miss social trips to the cinema, you could have a virtual film night - Netflix and Amazon video both now have options for watching films simultaneously with other people, including an integrated chat function for sharing your reactions to all those plot twists and nail-biting finales!
And if you need us, Team AC and thousands of other Absoluters are here to help - the Absoluters Facebook group is full of uplifting content and supportive conversations. If you’re an Absoluter, request to join and our lovely social butterfly Katy will check you’re an Absoluter and then let you in to join the fun - we can’t wait to see you!
Make the most of the sunshine
We know there’s not much sun out there at the moment, but if you spot a few golden rays peeking through, go outside and make the most of them! Getting outside is an easy mental wellbeing boost, so if you’re able to, we’d recommend going for a stroll, a cycle, a jog - anything to get you outside in the fresh air.
And if the skies are consistently grey and gloomy where you are, help is available in the form of artificial sunshine! SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects many people, and SAD lamps are becoming an increasingly popular method to counter the winter blues. These lamps simulate sunshine by projecting artificial light which is believed to encourage the brain to stop producing excessive melatonin (which makes you feel sleepy) and instead produce more serotonin (which stabilises mood, boosts feelings of wellbeing, and is also linked to better sleep and digestion).
Another way of topping up your sunshine is to take a Vitamin D supplement. This vitamin is very difficult to obtain through diet alone, with only 10% of Vitamin D intake coming from our food (especially foods like oily fish, red meat, and egg yolks) and can only be stored in the body for a short period of time, meaning we need a consistent intake. The remaining 90% should be obtained from the sun, as the body makes Vitamin D from sunshine on our skin. But of course, in the UK, this isn’t a reliable year-round source - hence the need for a supplement. If you’re experiencing tiredness, energy loss, and muscle aches, don’t just put this down to Blue Monday - these are all symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency!
Make positive diet and exercise changes
We’re not talking about crash diets and weight loss here - we’re talking about making positive, sustainable, healthy choices about what you’re putting in your body, and how often you’re exercising it. Your body is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but like everything else in life, it performs better with a little TLC.
The general advice is to drink around 8 glasses of water per day to keep your hydration levels healthy. This is something we are likely to overlook in the colder weather, when we don’t sweat so much, but our bodies still need to be hydrated all year round. If you’re not a fan of water, then try to keep your fluid intake up with juices and herbal teas instead - and why not add your daily dose of Absolute Collagen to your drink while you’re at it?
And when it comes to exercise, we don’t all have to be marathon runners, tennis pros or yoga experts - although we’re so impressed if you are! - but we can all benefit from moving around regularly and maintaining a good level of activity. Whether you run, walk or jog, getting out and about for exercise in the fresh air is an important part of looking after your physical and mental health, and if you’re looking to build up your exercise, why not try the Couch to 5K programme? It’s free and designed especially for beginners, and guides you every step of the way.
Take care of your skin
The skin is the largest organ of the human body - so it makes sense to take good care of it. That being said, it’s easy to become forgetful and neglect our skin, especially when we’re stressed, busy, or demotivated. However, not only is a good skincare routine a good way to add some luxury and pampering to your routine, but it’s also important for your overall wellbeing.
Our expert Dermatologist, Dr Ne Win, explained to us recently that it’s really important to maintain a good skincare routine especially in winter, as this is when the skin is more vulnerable to chapping, drying, flaking and flare-ups of skin conditions. Remember to moisturise often, especially on your hands when you’re using hand sanitiser and soap more often than usual, and apply a lip balm where necessary - ideally something extra soothing, with jojoba or coconut oil. Plus, did you know you should wear SPF all year, not just in summer? SPF protects from UV rays that occur all year round, even in winter - you can read more about this in Dr Ne Win’s winter skincare blog! Looking after your skin is a great self care tip, and an easy way to show your body some love and help you feel more comfortable in your skin during the gloomy winter months.
Do you have a top tip for beating the January blues that we haven’t mentioned here? We’d love to hear your recommendations - why not get in touch to share yours?