It’s been 18 years since a UK press release and marketing campaign popularized Blue Monday, yet people are still falling for the false notion that the 3rd Monday of January is the “most depressing day of the year”.
Way back in 2005, a British television channel (Sky Travel) and a local psychologist created an elaborate story about the depression peak on Blue Monday as a way to encourage people to book more travel to sunny, warm destinations. It was a brilliant marketing move, but sadly lacking in science and fact.
While SAD and the “seasonal blues” are legitimate conditions impacted by shorter days, less outdoor activity, and exacerbated by the ballooning media attention on Blue Monday at this time of year, I will repeat, there is no evidence for Blue Monday.
This means that you can take back control of your own mood, mindset, and outcomes in life!
The upside of all the Blue Monday media attention is that it brings more awareness to the personal control we have over our physical, mental, and social health. Virtually all credible experts and scientific studies show that mild to moderate outdoor physical activity is the closest thing to a “miracle cure” for the “winter blues” that you can get.
The even better news is that accessing these incredible benefits is very simple…Dress warm and get out for a walk, or step outside during the day, face the sun, and take big, deep breaths of fresh air. This positive impact is boosted when you enjoy that outdoor activity with friends, family, or people you care about.
Simple self-care actions like this are at the root of exceptional health, happiness, and higher performance in all areas of life.
Yet, they are so simple that people routinely overlook them. During the winter months, people sequester themselves inside, become less active, and participate in more activities that drain their health, energy, and wellbeing.
Thankfully, these actions are completely within our control. Putting simple routines and habits in place to create a positive cycle of wellbeing is the key to success at every time of year, but particularly in the winter.
Installing healthy habits and routines doesn’t need to be complicated either. The trick is to start small. Ridiculously small. So small that it seems insignificant. The goal is to take consistent daily actions that help you feel good while positively contributing to your long term health and wellbeing. Here are a couple examples that have worked for my and many of my most successful clients.
- Start (and finish) your day with 1 minute of movement/mobility/stretching
- Take 5 minutes (or more) of silence and reflection time for yourself each morning before you start the day
- Plan your day the night before
- Let the sun shine on your face for a couple of minutes each day
- If you can’t get outside, find a window and look outside at nature
- Get to bed by 10pm (challenge yourself by doing this for 2 weeks straight and see how you feel)
- Walk at least once around the block in the morning, and/or after each meal
- When possible, do some meetings by phone while you walk
- Honor yourself with one or two mini exercise breaks of 5-10 minutes during the day (even simple calisthenics works). Bonus points if you can do this outside in nature.
- Read, watch, or do something that makes you laugh each day
As you can see, these are exceedingly simple to do, and all have been shown to provide immense benefits for health, vitality, energy, and performance.
Would you like help optimizing and personalizing your health and performance habits? Let’s chat.