Today (18 January) is Blue Monday. It’s often called ‘the most depressing day of the year,’ thanks to the post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and less money in the bank. With the addition of a national lockdown too, it’s easy to feel a little blue…
It’s more important than ever before to be looking out for each other and prioritising our mental health. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some expert advice and product recommendations, to help you stay happy and optimistic this Blue Monday…
Advice from the experts…
1. Manage your mood
Sultan Dajani, pharmacist and advisor at Dragonfly CBD writes: “Mood can be influenced by many things. We have good things that make us feel happy and joyful. Then we can have the not so good things that can leave us feeling sad, angry, or regretful. Then there are also days where mood cannot be explained or rationalised, and even days where we can swing from one extreme to the other.”
Sultan’s top tips on managing your mood:
- Don’t force it: Let your mood be. The more you try to change it and pretend it’s not happening, the worse you are going to feel. Acknowledge that it is just a mood or a feeling that will eventually lift.
- Take a minute: Take some time out to just sit with your mood. Perhaps giving it some attention can help you work out the cause or resolve it. If you know that it is your emails, or a certain friend that is causing your mood to worsen, step away from them until you feel like responding or talking to them.
- Get moving: Exercise, walk, jump up and down, do some stretching or dance around the room. Whatever your preference just moves your body. Even a few minutes will give you a new outlook. Exercise releases endorphins, which can lower stress levels. Even gentle options like yoga and Pilates can help reset and calm the mind.
2. Brighten up your diet
- Love your Bs – B vitamins (B1, 3, 5, 6 and 12) have been shown to help optimise mood and emotional wellbeing. That’s why we all need to love legumes (beans, lentils), seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds) dark, leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach) and fruits (citrus fruits, avocados, bananas) as they are full of B nutrients, plus they help reduce tiredness and fatigue, often associated with low mood.
- Eat a daily rainbow – A colourful plate helps ensure that your body has all the essential nutrients to maintain good health like vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps tick all the emotional wellbeing boxes, as well as being essential for helping to fuel a healthy immune system. Red peppers, guavas, strawberries, kiwis and broccoli all contain vitamin C. Plus, don’t be a breakfast skipper as it will reduce your energy and happy mood levels!
3. Keep your mind active
The experts over at Forest Healthcare share their top tips on keeping your mind active this Blue Monday…
- Reading: Processing written material snaps the neurons to attention as they begin to transmit all the information. This happens during the process of spoken language, but the elements of reading encourage the brain to work harder and better. When you are reading, you ultimately have time to think. This allows you to pause and absorb the information with comprehension. This is different to oral language, which passes you by.
- Writing exercises: In our digital age, writing has become a lost art, yet writing benefits both the brain and the body in many ways. In comparison to typing, writing on paper feels tangible and real. When we don’t feel like talking to anyone, writing can be a way to get across your voice and release your thoughts. Journaling daily and writing down your affirmations can help us to purge any fear whilst remembering achievements and the future. Another spin on this, is to write with your non-dominant hand. According to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, this will strengthen your mind because it provides a challenge. Allowing yourself to try and accomplish something out of your comfort zone is a great way to increase brain activity.
- Sleep: Sleep is an important part of your daily routine – you spend one-third of your time doing it! When you’re lacking sleep, this can affect your whole state of mind. You might find yourself being clumsy and struggling to complete simple tasks. Good quality sleep is important to help your brain work at full capacity when you’re awake. Sleep is vital for the neurons that you’ve been using daily to rest and repair themselves before the next day. Your brain and body stay active whilst your sleep, so it’s important to get the right amount.
Product recommendations for managing your mood, energy and stress levels…
Bonuit Sleep Aid (£9.99) is a traditional herbal medicine uniquely combining Valerian and Passion Flower herbs, and is used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.
Solgar® Megasorb Vitamin B-Complex High Potency Tablets (£13.99) is a high potency balanced vitamin B complex formulated for improved absorption and delivery key B vitamins including Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6 and B12 (among others!), which all contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and energy-yielding metabolism.
Solgar® Magnesium Citrate Tablets (£11.50) is a unique all-round vitamin: it not only contributes to reduction of tiredness and fatigue, but also supports electrolyte balance and the normal functioning of the nervous system. Solgar’s magnesium product is created in citrate form, which is a highly absorbable form of magnesium. This is ideal for those with digestive issues or those who do not consume other mineral forms so easily.
Dragonfly CBD Oil (from £19.50) is a high quality, super-distilled CBD oil formula, which comes in a wide range of strengths and flavours. Research shows that CBD oil can aid in reducing stress levels and improving sleep quality.