Blue Monday is widely considered to be the saddest day of the year. From 2005, when the idea of Blue Monday was first introduced, it has been argued that factors such as weather, debt, failure to maintain New Year’s resolutions, and waning motivation now that we are settling back into our usual routines, all contribute to the third Monday in January being a significantly tougher day than most. It has, however, also been argued that Blue Monday was never much more than a marketing ploy for a travel company looking to convince customers that they should plan themselves (and pay for!) a holiday to cheer themselves up. 
 
With numerous studies now claiming to have debunked the ‘Blue Monday Myth’, we find ourselves asking what we would do differently today if it turns out Blue Monday just isn’t real? And, as it turns out, we wouldn’t change a thing! 
 
For the team at Strive, Blue Monday serves as a call to action. Now that we are all starting to settle back into our routines both at home and at work, it is the perfect opportunity to check in with our colleagues, friends, and members to see how you’re faring, and to offer a few practical tips and reminders should you find yourself struggling today: 
 
1. Treat Yourself with Kindness 
Whether it’s treating yourself to a bubble bath at the end of the day; finding a few minutes to enjoy a moment of pause, a deep breath, or a nice cup of tea; or simply being a little gentler with your internal monologue today, showing yourself kindness doesn’t have to cost the earth or take a lot of time. Just make it deliberate, simple, and personal. What makes you happy and lifts your mood isn’t necessarily going to be the same as everyone else so, as long as you’re keeping yourself and others safe, go for it! 
 
• Like stationery? 
How about picking yourself up a snazzy new notepad? 
 
• Cute animal videos more your thing? 
Is there a few minutes that you can deliberately set aside to enjoy them today? 
 
• Think plants are cool? 
Maybe today is a good day to add another to your collection? 
 
• Got a favourite film or TV show? 
Could you find some time to snuggle up with your duvet, put your phone on silent, and ignore the outside world for a few hours this evening? 
 
• Giving yourself a hard time about that New Year’s resolution you’ve struggled to stick to? 
How about you just don’t beat yourself up about it today? 
 
Blue Monday or not, today is as good a day as any to indulge in a little of what you enjoy without expectation, shame, or judgement and, if your internal monologue has a tendency to give you a hard time, maybe it’s also a good day to practice talking to yourself the same way you’d talk to a friend. 
 
Don’t forget that we are all inherently worthy and deserve things that help us to feel well and make us happy - today and every other day. 
 
2. Reach Out 
If you do find yourself feeling blue today, consider any friends, family, colleagues, or even pets that you can find a moment to connect with. Whether it’s a simple check-in to let someone know that you are thinking of them, making plans for a future catch up, a brief chat with a colleague about what they got up to at the weekend, or giving your pet an extra big cuddle today - even the smallest, seemingly insignificant, moments of connection help to remind us that, despite how it may feel, we are never truly alone
 
If connecting with those around you feels like an insurmountable task right now, please don’t ever forget that there are people you may not have even met yet, ready and waiting to make connections and offer support if you need it. Samaritans are available with a friendly ear, 24 hours a day 365 days a year, as well as a number of other organisations ready and eager to help should you need it. 
 
For support and advice with more specific problems such as, debt, domestic violence, addiction, employment and legal advice, National Debtline, Zinthya Trust, Refuge, Turning Point, Alcoholics Anonymous, ACAS, and Citizens Advice are just some of the many organisations that would be really happy to hear from you and see what they can do to help. 
 
3. Get Outside 
I know we all here this a lot, but getting outside really does work. Whether it’s a break from a stuffy office or a simple change of scenery for those of us at home, getting outside can improve mood, cognition, and both physical and mental health. As with all of our other tips today, if you’re short on time or money (or, in this case, perhaps you just don’t like the cold!), even the smallest action can make a difference. 
Getting out and about not only provides opportunity to appreciate nature, reduce stress, and increase physical activity, but it has been shown to improve concentration and increase creativity and problem solving so, even if you have a lot to get through today, taking a step outside (even for short while) may well provide just the boost you need to approach the next part of your day slightly fresher and a little more motivated. 
 
4. Remember: It’s Just One Day. 
Whether or not Blue Monday is particularly tough for you or anyone else, it is important to remember that it is just one day. You made it through the challenges of the days proceeding this and you can make it through today too. 
 
If you are able to spend some time practicing showing yourself the care and compassion you inherently deserve today then maybe, even if it is potentially one of the most miserable days of the year, Blue Monday can also be an opportunity to start taking some little steps towards a more confident, compassionate, and resilient future. 
 
- And, if not today, there’s always tomorrow… 
 
How Strive are spending Blue Monday 
As well as our regular 1:1s with our wonderful Strive members today, the team will be taking some of our own advice and setting aside a little time to catch up with some of our amazing StriveTogether collaborators. We’ll be wrapping up warm, treating ourselves to a cosy hot drink, and taking our planning meeting outside for a stroll with Roger, our lovely (and rather cheeky!) office dog. 
 
At Strive we believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to live their best life and that, when given the right resources and support, everyone is capable of this. 
 
That is why, in 2023, we created StriveTogether, SanaMente’s corporate social responsibility project. With the help of our ambassadors, partners, fundraisers, and friends StriveTogether’s mission is to offer Strive to people who would ordinarily be unable to access it for financial reasons - and we are super excited about our plans for 2024! 
 
With fundraising plans that include jumping out of aeroplanes and a 165km run up, down, and around Mont Blanc, collaborations with our ambassadors, events both online and in person, and plenty more to come, we can’t wait to share our plans for StriveTogether with our growing community! 
 
To stay up to date with our exciting plans, please consider following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Spotify or subscribing to our mailing list where we provide regular updates on all things Strive. 
 
And, to get involved, email us at: info@strive-online.co.uk 
- We’d love to hear from you! 
 
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