Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January, which has been scientifically calculated to be the gloomiest, most depressing day of the year. With the cold days and long nights, on top of the post-Christmas blues and the usual coughs, colds, and viruses doing the rounds, it’s easy to understand why lots of people struggle at this time of year.
So, if you are feeling a bit low or sluggish, then here are some ideas to give you that much-needed boost;
Take a walk
Walking is proven to enhance mood even after only a few minutes; any exercise stimulates the release of the body’s natural happy drug – endorphin. Endorphins play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety, alleviating symptoms of depression and boosting self-esteem. The added benefit of heading outside is that fresh air boosts Serotonin levels, which in turn regulates mood, and the sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D, which is essential for growth and health. It is amazing how much better a quick walk can make you feel.
Breathing deeply is one of the most effective tools for instantly calming the mind and relaxing the body. Breathe in deeply for the count of 7, then slowly out for the count of 11. The longer out-breath stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, the natural relaxation mechanism. The increased levels of oxygen taken into the body with correct breathing help to lower blood pressure, relax muscles, improve lung function and increase the efficiency of toxin removal from the body. Oxygen is absolutely essential for energy and metabolism and the deeper the breath, the more Oxygen we take in and therefore the more toxins we can breathe out.
Smiling is a powerful tool in which to trick the brain into feeling happy. The brain senses the muscle activity associated with smiling, a chemical reaction occurs and the happy hormones dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released into your bloodstream. The result is that you become calmer and more relaxed. Remember it takes fewer muscles to make a smile than it does to make a frown!
Eat dark chocolate
Yes! It is actually good for you to eat chocolate (only in small quantities of course). Nibbling on some dark chocolate (or Cacao as it is known before it is made into chocolate) stimulates the production of those happy hormones again- endorphins. It can also boost cognitive function due to the levels of flavonoids it contains (this also applies to wine and tea!) and its a powerful anti-oxidant helping to fight the ageing process, lowering blood pressure and improving heart health
Pure relaxation! Reflexology calms the whole body, both mentally and physically and promotes healing. It has a natural anaesthetic effect so helps with pain relief, it also boosts the immune and circulatory systems aiding in detoxification. Reflexology improves energy levels and alleviates stresses and tension. For a quick fix; apply pressure and a gentle anti-clockwise rotational movement to the solar plexus reflex on your hand (left or right); it is located on the palm in line with the 3rd finger, just below the knuckles.
The Solar Plexus is referred to as the ‘abdominal brain’ and is an essential part of the body’s nervous system. It is a bundled network of nerves sitting behind the stomach and is affected greatly by stress. Working this reflex has a calming effect on the mind and balances the nervous system, try to do this whenever you are feeling a bit low or stressed out, it really does help.
If you would like to give Reflexology a try to help with the January blues, then feel free to book an appointment or contact me for further information.