Boost Your Mood This Blue Monday!

Today is Blue Monday.  The most depressing day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  According to pretend, made up, pseudoscience.  In other words … the Internet!

 

In 2005, the television station Sky Travel sent out a press release declaring the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year.  As a travel channel that also sold holidays, I guess they were looking to make people so acutely aware of their depression that they’d clamour to book a weekend jaunt somewhere.

Sky Travel went out of business 5 years later, on what the same pseudoscience named “The happiest day of the year.”, June 24th.

The whole Blue Monday thing was based on some report done by some guy.  Actually Cliff Arnall is his name.  The equation he developed for determining the most depressing day of the year included information on weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, and low motivation levels.

He kind of thought of his research as an upbeat piece of literature. Motivational even! No one else did.

The idea of “Blue Monday” was instantly shared relentlessly on the Internet.

Cliff Arnall actually went so far as to apologize for his research last year saying he didn’t want anyone to focus on being sad or depressed in January.  Everyone should be happy!  See it as a chance to try new things. Wear funny hats or something.

He’s since taken part in a January campaign called “Screw it, Let’s Do It.” with Virgin Airlines encouraging people to yup … take whirlwind vacations.

Even though I don’t believe this is in fact the most depressing day of the year, or that such a thing exists, (unless you count those days you realize you’ve run out of toilet paper AND paper towels)  I can attest to the fact that January really can be kind of icky. And dull and lacklustre and yes, a little bit depressing.

You don’t need a vacation to boost your Blue Monday mood though.  I’ve done some research and come up with 10 things you can do TODAY, maybe even right now, to fool yourself into thinking today is as happy a day as … June 24th.

 

How to Boost Your Mood on Blue Monday

  1.  DECLUTTER

Getting rid of junk and especially making your office or bedroom more organized is scientifically proven to put you in a good mood.  Real science. Not Internet science.


2. COMPLIMENT SOMEONE

This is one of those weird things where you’re doing something for someone else but it makes you feel good.  Like when you give a really good present.  Only this doesn’t cost any money and make the person feel better about their day too.

Go out into the world and compliment a random stranger. If you think their hair is nice tell them, if you think it was admirable they picked garbage up off the street and put it in the trash tell them, if you think they have the loveliest accent you’ve ever heard, say it out loud.  Easy, right??


3. PAY FOR SOMEONE’S COFFEE

This is along the same lines as complimenting someone but it involves coffee.  And no compliment.  If you’re in the drive through or in line for a coffee today pay for a coffee for someone.  The person in front of you, behind you, it doesn’t matter.  Just maybe try not to get the guy placing an order for his entire office building ’cause a $3.50 favour will enhance your mood, a $35 one might not.


4. BUY YOURSELF FLOWERS OR A PLANT

Researchers at Rutgers University found that:

“simply being in the presence of flowers was found to elevate mood significantly, measurably increase feelings of life satisfaction, and promote positive social behavior.”

In fact flowers are so effective at making some people feel happy that they’re a viable treatment for mild depression, anxiety and stress.


5. GET OUTSIDE IN THE (HOPEFULLY, EVEN JUST A TINY SLIVER OF IT) SUN.

I don’t think I have to explain this one to you.  The sun is good for you.  It makes you feel betterrrrrrrr.  Now if you’re in the Northern  Hemisphere you probably won’t be relaxing in a chair watering your vegetable garden but you can get outside to take a walk around your garden. Or even just walk around the block. The point is get outside and if the sun is out even better.

In the fall and winter you can get your Vitamin D from supplements. The recommended dosage is to take 1,000 IU a day during the fall and winter to supplement the loss of sunlight.


6. EXERCISE

There are two ways that exercise makes you feel great.  Three if you think you look good in your exercise outfit!  Firstly, exercise increases endorphins, those little hormones that give you a high in the same vein as morphine.  Secondly, exercise gives you a feeling of ass kicking accomplishment.


7. EAT MOOD BOOSTING FOODS 

Like you need an excuse to eat cheese. Ha! -Tryptophan which you probably know as the ingredient in turkey that makes you tired is really making you relaxed.  It’s also found in proteins like fish, chicken, cottage cheese, nuts, cheeeeeeese, eggs, and beans.

Walnuts, kiwi, bananas, sour cherries, pineapple, tomatoes, and plums are all naturally high in serotonin which is a hormone (or neurotransmitter – the jury is still out on WHAT it is exactly) that makes you feel good.

So plan on a lunch or dinner that includes these ingredients!


8. MEDITATE OR BOOK A YOGA CLASS

Meditate your blues away.  It’s true. It helps.  Don’t know how to meditate or think it’s for hippie weirdos?  Try taking a yoga class today.  Yoga will help your mood too.


9. GET A MASSAGE

The benefits of massage are twofold.  Human touch like massage and hugs naturally make you feel good. But even just massaging your own shoulders and neck can make you happy.


10. SMILE

Even a fake smile, like my ode to Brooke Shields in grade 6, can fool your brain into thinking you’re actually happy.  So even if you don’t feel happy a fake flash of teeth can make it true.

Now that you’ve perused this photo I’m going to assume you’re genuinely smiling. Or laughing hysterically. Either way you’re well on your way to a Happy Monday.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

58 Comments

  1. Glenn Wiens says:

    No “K” at the bottom?

  2. 11. Read Karen’s column. ☺️💕

  3. Gael says:

    Love these ideas! Forwarding on the link to pals who could use it.

  4. G Chapman says:

    A lovely childhood photo. I’m laughing hysterically at the chicken jockey! 😉

  5. Addie says:

    Nothing was working ~until~ I saw the last picture !!! Now I am hysterically laughing…..oops…
    I just remembered some of my old pics…now I am not laughing!!!! Oh, well.

    • Jacquie Gariano says:

      Every once in a while I come across an old school or family pict and wonder what I was thinking….how could I possibly have looked like that. LOL

  6. Mary says:

    Would you believe I ordered my therapy light for depression a couple hours before Blue Monday began. It won’t get here until Wednesday. Good thing I have your ideas.

  7. K says:

    Get a massage
    Buy coffee for a stranger

    These are the only two things on the list I didn’t do this weekend. I actually make an effort to do most of these things every day. Living on the west coast the sun one isn’t always possible.

    A few years back (5? 7?) I mentioned to a friend that I found January sort of blue & doesn’t everyone?

    She said no. Of course not. It was s new year! A new start! & I decided since she felt that way so could I!

    No exaggeration: ever since then I have loved January and used it as a new start (lots of decluttering for sure). It was like a switchhad flicked. I mean, even as a teenager I hated January. So this was some long term loathing

    Now sometimes January is coming & I think: oh no January. But then I remember: no. January is good now. And viola, it is.

    Anyway. I am sharing this because it STILL seems like magic to me that January is a lovely month now. & so hopefully this can spread to others as easily as I caught it!!!

    Love & luck & happy Januarys to all who read this!

    • Carrie says:

      Thanks K!
      You have made me a believer. After all, positive thinking is so much better and healthier then negative thinking!
      Happy NEW year☺

      To Karen……if only I could KEEP my husband’s dresser drawers looking like that!! Lol
      Positive thinking……..Positive thinking……..😋

    • judy says:

      Thank you Thank you…. etc. I was so depressed sitting here with the laptop wondering what else the looney tunes government we have that seems so brilliant at breaking stuff will do next.
      I am ancient so have way too much time to watch the unraveling take place-Good grief we Americans are accepting internment camps filled with thousands of little children? Born in 1940-“camps” are more creepy to one of my era than all you young uns. Anyhoo the idea that January is a new start-out with the old in with the new-fingers crossed. Here in Virginia( after the usual dump of the melting Arctic glaciers for endless hours -ta da ) the Sun is shining,the sky is beautifully blue with fat fluffy clouds and I feel positive that we are going to find a path back to sanity.

      • Bonnie Goodrich-Wilcoxson says:

        Thank you for this ❣️

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        Oh lordy, Judy, I was reading your comment and thinking “they’re putting children now in INTERNET camps”???? lol
        I must be losing my mind or need to change my contacts prescription….. 🙄

  8. Susan says:

    I often don’t remember the day or the date. Who cares. The sun in shining, damn hot and I am alive. What else do you need.
    Oh I know chocolate.

  9. Kathryn turner says:

    Spring it’s nearly Spring! Those of us quite northern also can see massive changes in day length by this Monday a harbinger of the spring to come and all those new bulb shoots in the garden. I give myself early smiles with all those beautiful seedlings appearing each morning in the propagator. Winter what winter..a gardener in happy denial here in Ireland . Keep on riding hen wrangler.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Your drawer is beautiful …

  11. Deb says:

    Karen, one more to add to the list. Order your seeds! Oh right, I already did that. Guess I can continue my decluttering, that is unless my husband kills me first. I’m the kind of gal whose decluttering ALWAYS looks worse before it looks better. I’m working on two houses, my mom’s, who passed away in October and mine so things are in bad shape everywhere. Oh well, smile, by a someone a coffee and shovel snow.

  12. Elissa Rioux says:

    The chicken jockey photo got my day off to a great start! What a riot 🙂 Thank you Karen! 💕

  13. Eileen says:

    I just set up an exercise schedule that is working and it’s something I’ll be able to stay with, even with a 50 mile round trip drive three times a week! The unexpected bonus is that the classes have women all around my age and they are so friendly! So I’m happy in January….plus I’ve gone a ton of Mari Kondoing around my house. Refreshing. Even with about two days of sunshine this month.

  14. Lez says:

    Hate to say, we are struggling in 40 degrees centigrade here in sunny South Africa today!
    Sometimes as hard as cold, but give me heat any day!
    Agreed, load of rubbish this “Unhappiest day” codswallop!

    Karin, I’m confused! Did no one else pick up that your eyes have changed from Amber brown to bright, light blue!?
    How did that happen!??

    B

    • Kay says:

      It is 30 degrees in Alabama, USA, but clear (no rain or snow!). I also wondered about the eye color change. I actually did not think that the photo looked like Karen, but maybe one of her sisters.

    • Karen says:

      LOL, it’s just an oldddddd photo so it’s yellowed and has poor colour. ~ karen!

  15. ED says:

    Track the sunrises or sunsets – by the position of light coming in your window, by the internet, your clock — the days are getting longer!!!

  16. Marilyn Meagher says:

    Yes that drawer made me instantly depressed. Wtf. Who has a drawer like that everyday? I’m sure it doesnt look like that everyday…please tell me it doesn’t. And that grade 6 pic. I never realized how much j looks like you! I thought your eyes look a different colour there too! Great list ..I already do lots of those and I’m a pretty happy person. Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hey Marilyn! Once you fold your tee shirts and jeans like that (I also do my tea towels that way) it’s reallyyyy easy to maintain. It’s a tiny bit messier right now (tee shirts not folded with all the wrinkles 100 % pulled out) but honestly it makes the drawers so much more manageable and easy to find things that keeping them that way is nooooo problem. ~ karen!

      • Jacquie Gariano says:

        I roll my t’s and line them up in the drawer. Works great for me. I can see all of them and choose easily. Love the chicken.

  17. Jen says:

    OHMYGODTHEPICTUREOFYOURIDINGACHICKEN. Thank you.

    And you were adorable in grade 6. Coincidentally, when I was in the same grade I cited Brooke Shields in my essay “The Person I Most Admire.” My mother was mortified.

  18. p says:

    I read about meditation recently. It’s a way bigger deal that I thought! Apparently, when you do these breathing exercises and clear your mind at the same time, your brain does a trash dump and your DNA is changed!!! I’m still shaking my head! It’s all about the telomeres 😀

  19. Mary W says:

    Vitamin D will help with the winter blues – in less than a week. I tried it and it worked without going outside, just in case it is sleeting in your neck of the woods. Compliments are a great idea and make me feel good along with the other person. More human somehow. Finally, I’ve been on a kick lately of eating very strange things. I had leftovers from Christmas – all those purchases for food that I didn’t get around to making. My best creation was half a pecan topped with a bit of cream cheese or really hard aged expensive cheese and a slice of candied ginger. I made a pig of myself eating this for lunch one day and keep going back to do it again. I polished off all the candied ginger and had to go buy more. Now you tell me I was self medicating. Maybe it wasn’t the vitamin D but instead the nuts and cheese. I’m going into my bedroom when I click enter and redo my T-shirt drawer – you totally got me started with that cool picture.

    • Karen says:

      I meant to add Vitamin D to the list!!! I can’t believe I forgot it. I was going to put it in the section about the sun. Ack. I’m going to fix that now. Thx! ~ karen

  20. Eileen says:

    Any time of year is a good time of year while jockeying a chicken! And if you look like that in jodhpurs.

  21. linda in illinois says:

    you rock. thanks Karen

  22. Cheryl says:

    Excellent! you brightened my day! Love the chicken jockey! What I want to know is how do you fold the t shirts to get them to look that way. You have probably got a link to a post, that I must have missed, so can you post it for all of us with drawer envy!

  23. Delroy Chung says:

    Hi Karen I am curious and was wondering if you could post a picture of yourself giving someone the stink eye? I am not sure if I ever saw one and maybe as such been ignoring the protocol
    Thanks
    Delroy

  24. Jean Elizabeth Nock says:

    Stepped into the dreaded home office. Had to first put my pith helmet and boots on to navigate the clutter on the floor! Totally got the work blues. Garbage bag in hand I’m carefully stepping into the dreaded paper swamp……
    Send help if you don’t hear back from me by dark….giggle.

  25. JoElle says:

    I always get a kick out of your blog posts. They’ve actually encouraged me to write more in my true voice in my blog. Thanks for your humor, honesty and guaranteed good start to the day.

  26. Idaho Girl says:

    My random thoughts on some of the items on the list that resonated with me:
    1) Everyone, please take the Vitamin D3 suggestion seriously. There is an epidemic of people who are deficient in that department, and it’s almost impossible to get what you need through just food in the winter, so find yourself a good supplement and give it a try–it can be a game changer.
    2) I’ve often wondered what the saddle was for in your room photos, so thanks for clearing that up.
    3) Beautiful cheese tray – any day with cheese just can’t be a sad day.
    P.S. I’m one of those who love January – I ascribe to the notion it’s a great time to start fresh and new, so make the most of it – get rid of old stuff, negative thoughts, and anything that’s holding you back.

  27. Jackie says:

    Love your post Karen – as always. Very on spot for Missouri this Winter. We have seen very little sunshine for about 2 weeks. Lots of snow, clouds and cold & we’re getting pretty tired of it. It’s been so bad here that our cat took to sleeping in my office chair all day – every day – for over a week & I had very little access to my computer. Even if I was in the chair he would come in & claw at the seat & stare at me (he has only one eye & very little sight in that one), like he was using his ESP to tell me to get my ass out of his chair. So I did, & let him have it. I got so bored that I cleaned out a hall closet, a kitchen cabinet & my pantry. Got rid of a lot of stuff we don’t need anymore. However, #4 is my favorite – buy flowers. A few years ago we were at a grocery store & I when we were done, I had to wait on my husband for some reason & went to the floral shop. As I was walking around & looking, a worker asked if she could help me. I told her no, it was just so cold & dreary outside that I wanted to just wonder around some flowers for a while. It made me feel better just seeing all the colors & smelling the flowers, knowing that Spring would soon be here. Maybe I’ll buy some flowers on this weeks trip to the store. Thanks for all the tips.

    • judy says:

      I used to pass by the costco flowers thinking nah too much-however when we put our house up for sale an article said put flowers out,it puts people in a good mood. I bit the bullet and brought home a bunch and much to my surprise(not having anything large enough to accommodate the thing) I started separating it into every vase I had-I think I wound up with something in every room-tiny twosomes on nightstands to larger on dining room table. The agent informed that everyone commented on the flowers and where buyers are cranky cause finding what you want for the price you want is frustrating she found they were smiling. One actually pinched them thinking they were artificial – they lasted for a really long time-changed the water and snipping off the ends works well

  28. Heather says:

    Loved that photo of you! It’s fun to see school photo of people we “meet” when we’re adults.

  29. Sue G. says:

    It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr day in the U.S. Sooo…a day off from work is good, too. 🙂

  30. Bonnie Goodrich-Wilcoxson says:

    I needed this. I’m in northern Idaho (‘nuff said).

  31. Elen says:

    Hahahaha. Exercise for the win! I’m going with #7. There is some sour cherry cobbler downstairs now calling my name. And I had never heard of Blue Monday until I saw your Insta this morning. I truly live under a rock.

    • judy says:

      your recipe for sour cherry cobbler? Or I could probably be at your door,tout de suite!

      I’ll bring ice cream-should we all come?

  32. Lesley says:

    Blue Monday? News to me – spent a couple blisteringly cold but beautifully sunny hours at the dog park with borrowed puppers, so a good day all around.

    That’s in contrast to last Thursday when my mother, distraught that I hadn’t reported in on the state of my cold for (counts on fingers) 21 hours, called my neighbour (whom she barely knows, but knows has a key to my house) away from her grocery trip with a request to let herself into my house to see if I had died. I was running a bath, wearing pyjamas and a gallon of Vicks, and sporting madwoman in the attic hair, when I heard my front door open and stepped into the hallway to WTF?!??

    Just thought I’d share that.

  33. My water pipes froze today. 🙁 They are thawed now though 🙂 Great ideas, did my best to cover some of them successfully, some of it involved the pipes.

  34. Kristin Ferguson says:

    I live in Pasadena, California, so the sun is shining almost every day (in fact, when it rained all of last week, we were ridiculously excited.) I recently redid my living and dining rooms and I’m super jazzed about them. I painted the living room pale yellow, and put a chair rail in the dining room and painted/papered the walls soft pink and weird Swedish design wallpaper. Then I made a great feather pendant lamp and some concrete table lamps and candle holders. I have bowls of roses and plants in each room and a warm cat on my lap. The sun is shining on the mountains, the chickens are happily clucking in the back yard, the dishes are done, and we just installed a new kitchen faucet ourselves (this involved 3 different trips to Home Depot within 24 hours, though.) Ooh ooh! And my daughter just sent me a picture of the daffodils in stock at Trader Joe’s for $1.49 for ten stems, so for the next many weeks I’ll have daffodils galore! I wholeheartedly agree that tidying up is a huge mood booster–which is why going into my garage makes me very, very blue.

  35. Sherri says:

    Have you been watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix or have you always filled your drawers with folded clothes like your photo? My son tossed a few clean, but ratty t-shirts my way to add to my rag bag. Before I took my scissors to them, I thanked them for serving my son so well. I’m a Kondo believer!

  36. Linda Wade says:

    I’m so glad you created this. I look forward to your emails and Instagrams and they always make me smile. Sometimes I laugh out loud. Thank you and may you continue posting. I’ve learned a lot from your posts.

  37. Marna says:

    Wonderful list! I really love the one with you on the chicken! 🙂

  38. Jacquie Gariano says:

    I love your list, already do a few things on it every day (or try to). I do get the declutter bug in Jan and make a big mess before it gets cleaner. Drives my son-in-law nuts when this goes on. But he is usually happy with the results if I leave “his” things alone. LOL
    I am usually in “sunny” Sacramento, CA this time of year but due to family matters am in VT. Today it is snowing and there hasn’t been sun for several days, but every time we get a sunny day I go out and take “snow” picts. Brightens my day. Thanks for your insight and thoughts. They always brighten my day.

  39. Jan in Waterdown says:

    When I was a kid, we weren’t “allowed” to be grumpy or blue. My mom said that nobody wants to see your cranky face so slap on a smile and get over it. I thought she was the worst mother in the world but, after all these years, I think she was right. Just smiling has a positive affect not only on others but yourself too….. thanks mom 😇

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