As it's Blue Monday today we take a look at many things you can do that just might brighten up the most depressing day of the year (and beyond) with your partner.
Watch a funny film- Whether you have one tucked away in your DVD collection or can pull one up on a streaming device- make sure whatever you pick is guaranteed to make you both giggle. (www.senttothrill.com)
Take a walk together- Exercise boosts levels of happy brain chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and anandamide. These chemicals reduce some of the effects of stress. It is considered one of the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for depression so put your walking shoes and your winter coat on and brave the outdoors. (42 courses)
Eat a bar of chocolate- Who doesn’t feel better after a slab of the sweet stuff? Chances are you still have some left from Christmas so you won’t even have to buy some. (www.senttothrill.com)
Have sex- Sex is a from of exercise and much like walking, it will release a whole host of feel good hormones- so if you don’t fancy going outside- get moving inside instead. And if you both reach orgasm- you’re going to feel on top of the world! (www.senttothrill.com)
Buy a plant- Breathing life into your home, houseplants have amazing benefits for a natural healthy boost. Whilst adding an air of natural zen, they also reduce stress by contributing to lower blood pressure, prevent allergies, stop headaches, help sleep and more- all of which will brighten up your mood. (Dobbies)
Be Mindful Of Comparisons- Your happiness is very dependent on the comparisons you make with other people’s lives. If other people are doing exceptionally well, it can make your bad day seem even worse. Social media profiles rarely expose other ’s flaws – we only see the filtered, happy moments. Comparing your own life to those perfect Instagram pictures is a quick path to misery. Take a break from social media - A recent study showed even a weeks break can noticeably decrease anger, sadness and loneliness, whilst increasing life enjoyment, decisiveness and happiness. (42 courses)
Vitamin D - Low mood and SAD has been linked to low vitamin D levels during the winter months. Fat soluble Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin, from cholesterol, after exposure to UV rays. Between October and April in the UK we cannot synthesise adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun and it is now well known that many of us in the UK are deficient. Vitamin D supplementation during the winter months has been shown to improve mood and is recommended as adequate vitamin D cannot be obtained from food alone. (Bio-Kult)
Light Therapy – Reduced exposure to daylight over the winter months is thought to play a crucial role in the winter blues, as it disrupts our circadian rhythms and reduces serotonin production. Try get outdoors each day, even if it’s without your partner as the benefits will carry through till you see them. Just 15 minutes on your lunch break is enough. Ensure your work area is light and airy and sit near windows. You could also consider investing in a light therapy box to mimic natural outdoor light, or using a daylight alarm-clock (which gradually wakes you both up by emulating sunrise) to help you get up in the mornings. (Bio-Kult)
Eat Well – What we eat can have a big impact on our mood. Whilst many people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) tend to crave carbohydrates, ensuring you are getting sufficient protein is much more beneficial. Amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein) help increase feel good neurotransmitters in the brain. Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as turkey, beef, bananas, beans, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds are especially important, as tryptophan is a pre-cursor to serotonin - our happy hormone. Whilst carbohydrates can increase the production of serotonin initially, sugary foods and refined carbohydrates can become addictive and be precipitated by a crash in blood sugars and mood. Therefore opting for complex carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain rice and quinoa and following a low GI Mediterranean style diet rich in fruit, vegetables and omega 3 from oily fish is advisable. With this in mind- you know the sorts of food you need to be making for each other at dinner time. (Bio-Kult)
Don’t Suffer in Silence – Feeling down over the winter months is much more common than you think, and there is no need to go through it alone. If you’re feeling low, talk to your partner and explain how you’re feeling. Just having your lover there to listen, offer a cup of tea and a hug may help get you through particularly difficult days and vice versa. (Bio-Kult)
Cut down on caffeine. Too much caffeine (and this is a different amount for each of us) can lead to feelings of irritability and sleepless nights. Limit to no more than 3 or 4 cups of coffee or equivalent a day or try and help each other to cut it out completely. (Boots)
Spend time with your partner and your friends and family- Have everyone over for a meal, if you can't be bothered cooking- get a take out. If your house is a mess, go out for your tea or to the cinema (preferably a comedy). As soon as you have the distraction of an activity or conversation, you will forget all about what day it is.
Book a holiday- If you are tight on cash- book a weekend away or a fun day out. It will give you something to look forward to and a focus for the night. You will go to bed knowing that these long days at work at the beginning of the year are worth it to give you the time away.
Make plans for the future- Make a 2018 to do list and think of fun things you have always wanted to do but never have. An outdoor activity day, a theme park you have yet to visit, a road trip to somewhere you've never been, sex somewhere new, the theatre, a posh cinema visit- anything you can think of- put it down and start working your way through it and if needs be- saving for it.
A freebie- To get through Blue Monday you don't have to spend a penny- dig a strange concoction of food out of your freezer and have a mini buffet for two, play a board game, take a bath together, sort out your old photos (the ones that make you smile)- the list is endless.
Whatever you do- do something- it's only 24 hours- you will get through if you have each other and the will to reach the other side.
Final four findings from a survey by LegoVegas.com