The 21st of January, also known as the most depressing day of the year, is slowly creeping up on us, so our experts have provided their top ‘pick me ups’ to help you beat not only Blue Monday, but all of those dreaded Mondays...
1. Reach out to those around you
“When it’s an overcast grey day we may feel gloomy and choose to avoid being sociable. This avoidance may lead to a spiral of negativity. Whilst experiencing prolonged winters and occasional low mood, reaching out and connecting with a friend can improve it instantly. If this is ‘too much’ then connect via text or email and arrange to call or have them call you,” explains Nutritionist Alix Woods.
2. Foods to improve mood
“Feed the brain with essential fatty acids to boost your mood. Turkey is not only high in protein; it contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps boost dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Healthy carbohydrates such as wholegrain foods, which are high in fibre are not only comforting, but they will also help stablise blood sugar levels, preventing mood dips and irritability. In the winter a vegetable soup with barley and other wholegrains is a warming mood booster,” explains Wellness Expert, Fitness Trainer & Author of a range of books including Body Cycles, Jacqueline Harvey
3. Look after your gut and it will repay you
“Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health and endocrine disorders. Fermented foods contain high levels of probiotics, which top up the healthy bacteria that naturally live in our intestine. They are known for aiding in digestion, boosting the immune system and cleaning our gut. They’re a key contributor to the health of the gut-brain axis and have a calming effect on the body, specifically helping with aggression. Fermented foods containing probiotics, include kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and live yoghurt,” explains Jacqueline Harvey.
4. Don’t relate to Pathetic Fallacy
“Just like weather, exercise has a big impact on mood and a little exercise goes a long way. It promotes the feel good hormone, serotonin that regulates mood, sleep and appetite. By taking a long leisurely walk or having a short burst of interval training, alleviates symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. It’s even more beneficial to exercise outside even in the rain. Even walking on grey days allows UV exposure and regulates circadian rhythm and mood,” explains Alix Woods.
5. Cuddle your pet
Give your pet a cuddle on blue Monday to start the day in a positive way - “There is a great evidence that having a pet boosts overall health by reducing stress, increasing immunity, improving mood, making us more sociable, increasing fitness and staving off heart disease and major mood disorders,” explains Alix Woods.