The so called “Blue Monday” on 20th January has been and gone – so did that apply to you? Apparently it’s the saddest day of the year with new year resolutions crumbling, post- Christmas credit card bills arriving, and cold days and dark night added in to the mix to top it all off! Whilst it’s an unscientific label, it certainly resonates in one way or another doesn’t it?
So here’s a question – given that we are all human and we all have days and phases when things are more challenging and difficult, how do you self-regulate when you feel a bit rubbish? How do you nurture yourself and care for yourself? Are you aware of linking low mood to a certain strategy? Do you have regular patterns of self care, no matter how you are feeling? (If so, well done you!)
The ironic thing is that low mood can lead to inertia and a lack of initiative and drive. In some ways it’s good to hibernate, and sometimes a conscious period of introspection and withdrawal can be beneficial to us, and in winter this does sometimes feel natural.
But unconscious withdrawal and becoming more passive can increase feelings of low mood, and I think the magic key to shifting it is through having awareness, and a feeling of control.
If a Blue Monday feeling hits you (as it inevitably does in life, from time to time), it might help to observe the feeling and acknowledge it. Maybe give yourself permission to have an extra lie in, or an extra rest, or to cancel something.
And after that, maybe start to think about what positive action you could take to lift your mood. Of course, this is where exercise comes in beautifully – as we all know, attending a class, getting out, seeing other like-minded people and the boost of endorphins (the happy hormone in your brain which is release when you exercise) is a pretty sure way to boost your mood.
Finding a rhythm and routine by attending a class is such a lovely simple way to practice self care – by making it part of your routine, you are guaranteeing that your body and mind receive a dose of love and nurturing – something you are doing which is entirely for yourself.
Sometimes it’s hard to justify doing something for ourselves as it’s easy to think it’s being selfish, when in fact, we aren’t able to look after others or be of service to anyone if we are not caring for ourselves first.