Fiona Worthington Clinical Hypnotherapist and Cognitive Behavioural Coach at the Putney Clinic takes a look at what’s behind the January Blues and what we can do about it, if we are starting to feel down at this time of year.
In 2005 an article appeared claiming it’s possible to calculate the saddest day of the year.
See above. Since then lots of very clever people have debated this and shown that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that this formula works. However, it has become something of an annual tradition to talk and worry about each year. It has been named “Blue Monday”. Each year articles are written all over the place e.g.in the Sun, The Independent, Huffington Post, across the internet and it seems to work at selling us more things. Holidays, vitamins, light boxes. For me at least though what it does, is to raise awareness that mental health is a problem but it’s not just a January problem.
This year Blue Monday will fall on January 21st. A lot of us get a bit sad in January. I know that I have to watch my mood at this time. It’s hardly a surprise when you are cold, broke from the excesses of Christmas, and if like me you are on dry January maybe feeling rather boring. Not helped by the he fact that it’s very dark outside.
So, what can we do to lessen those sad feelings? It’s good to have your own stable of techniques for dealing with dips in mood. Here are a few suggestions to try or discuss with friends. Let me know your own ideas of how you deal with the Blues.
1. Ask yourself this question. What three things have I got to look forward to this year? Now I am all for living in the moment, but it’s good to have fun things to look forward to, whether it’s something big like a holiday or simple organising to meet up with an old friend. It doesn’t matter but have a few fun things in the diary.
2. Keep a journal or notebook and at the end of each day write down something good that has happened to you. US President Benjamin Franklin used to do this each and every day saying to himself “What good did I do today” Even if it was just going to the gym, and you hadn’t wanted to go ( that would be me ) that’s a win. So, start by finding one win a day, and then in time grow it to 3 things. It will make you more mindful of the good stuff that you do. We are all very good at being aware of what we haven’t done in the day. But this this is about applauding what we have done.
3. Keep a happiness list.
Write down things that you like doing that make you feel good. It doesn’t have to be big stuff. Put it notes section on your phone for ease, and then keep adding to it whenever you think of something new . In time you will have a really long list, so that when you feel really rubbish you can glance through it and find something that will make you smile or change that mood. You can’t be happy and sad at the same time so the more you can flood that head of yours with things that make you feel good the more you can change the way you feel.
It’s simple things like:
– A cup of coffee with a friend.
– Reading the Sunday’s and listening to music.
– Playing tennis
– Walking my dog
– Going to a movie with a good friend….
4. Make a music play list, I have “Fiona Feel Good” list of music. I have built it over the past 20 years, its music that makes me feel good. Simple as that.
5. Watch a fun Movie or TV programme. Over the last 15 years my kids and I have watched every episode of Friends, we used to do it when they came back from school, and we still do it when they are around it’s now a family tradition. So, watch a programme that makes you feel good not things that are so dark they leave you feeling depressed!
6.Finding some sort of exercise, you like doing you don’t need to be Roger Federer or Ronaldo. Just Walk, dance, swim, bike and gradually build it into your life. Aim for 3 X a week 20/30 minutes and notice the benefits.
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama
Fiona Worthington – www.fionaworthington.uk.com