Mondays are the most depressing times of the week. Particularly the Mondays that occur in January, just after the holiday season.
Its those times you have to struggle to wake up in the freezing cold to go to back to work, thinking about all those New Year’s resolutions you are likely to break, and panicked at the thought of all those credit card bills arriving from last month’s Christmas expenses.
All these things running through your head during the “Blue Mondays” of January are likely to get you depressed as not. Here are five ways you can counter those blues:
#1. Help Others
Especially those who really need it. When you put others’ needs before your own, it helps you forget your own troubles. Studies have documented that helping other people out in dire need can give you happiness over time. People who volunteer for their community have been shown to live longer than those who don’t. So lend a helping hand, not only to gain brownie points, but also to stimulate your brain’s cortex with all those happiness hormones.
#2. Get moving
Its so easy to fall into a rut of self-pity, vegging the day away wrapped up against the cold. However, its best to get moving with a physical activity you enjoy the most. According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise has been linked to lowering depression, while loosening those limbs will trigger the release of the happy hormone, endorphins, and transmit serotonin where you need it. So establish an active routine and stick to it, you’ll likely be keeping a physical fitness resolution as well as warding off feelings of doom and gloom while you’re at it.
#3. Get outdoors
Nature can have a very therapeutic effect on feelings of hopelessness and despair. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, just five minutes of being around trees and greenery can improve your mood. In fact, if you couple nature exposure with physical exercise, you’ll be able to lower your blood pressure and prevent stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline from flooding your body. So go out into your backyard, or hie off for a walk at the neighborhood park to lower your risk for anger, confusion, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
#4. Be grateful
Saying “thank you” is one of the ways to improve your mood. If you cultivate the feeling of gratefulness for all the blessings you have in your life, you’ll notice an increase of positive vibes instead of negative ones. Make a list each day of things you’re grateful for, and give your happiness a boost.
#5. Hug your pet
Loneliness is a fact of life. You can feel alone even when surrounded by a lot of people. But having a pet can help. Cuddling your fur baby, or fur-less animal companion (if you’re allergic) has been proven to enhance happiness hormones like endorphins and dopamine, as well as decrease the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Beat “Blue Mondays” with one, two, or all of the tips above. They’ll help get you through tough times.
H/T: ABC 7