January is upon us again, and with it comes the usual mid-winter blues. The January blues are no joke — though we’ve already been through weeks of cold, there are still many weeks of grey and rain ahead of us — and without the anticipation of holiday cheer that got us through December!
After the parties and gatherings of New Years have subsided, January stretches out like a long bleak winter desert. And this year could be even worse — with stay-at-home orders and get-togethers largely halted, it could be an even lonelier and longer winter than usual.
But there’s another way to look at it too. Holed up at home is the perfect time to explore new curiosities and develop passions. Get crafty, get reflective, and stay active — albeit closer to home.
January Depression & Blue Monday
If you get the January blues, it might at least give you some comfort to know that you aren’t the only one. In fact, January depression is well documented.
Blue Monday is widely considered the most depressing day of the year — and guess when it is?
Yep: January. Usually Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of the month. The date was calculated by a company called Sky Travel to support their holiday adverts. They used factors such as highest debt, time since Christmas, motivational levels and, of course, the weather, to calculate the day.
And while the formula and “science” of Blue Monday are widely considered a pseudoscience, it’s not too hard to see why it clung culturally. People could relate to the January blues, and it became a culturally accepted and widely acknowledged day across Europe.
On the other hand, why not turn it into a day to celebrate? That might just make it a bit less depressing!
We have some ideas for how to mitigate the winter blues in general, and spark some cheer into your January.
How to Beat the January Blues
First and foremost, getting a daily dose of physical exercise can really help to maintain a healthy mood.
For one thing, exercise releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones that can provide a great temporary relief from depression. Plus, just the act of working out can be a distraction for the mind, which is a good thing, when stuck in a negative mind cycle.
Working out also improves brain function, leading to a brain that can handle stress better over time and better regulate mood, too.
And getting outside for your physical activity is even better. Even if it’s cold or raining, a good walk outdoors is invigorating and gives you a chance to get a change of scenery — and fresh air.
Even just 20 minutes a day of movement can do a world of good.
Minimize Screen Time
There are many studies that show that screen time is a culprit of depression.
When it’s cold and wet outside and you’re stuck at home all the time, it can be extremely tempting to spend a significant portion of your time online — whether watching shows, scrolling social media, or surfing the web.
The problem is that when you’re online, your mind is just taking in information. You’re not reciprocating. You’re not exercising your intelligence, your creativity — or your hands.
That’s why our next section is so important. It pulls you out of the world of screens and back into the tangible, physical, and creative world!
Learn Something New
We all know that feeling of excitement when we are engaged in something that really captures our attention. When we are passionate about something or deeply curious to learn more. When we are in this space, all of our attention is focused and it is nearly impossible to feel depressed.
That’s why learning something new, or developing a craft, is such a wonderful pastime. When you’re learning, your mind is engaged and not given over to melancholy. And you may just discover a new passion, too!
Of course, it can be difficult to get started with a new interest, especially if you’re brand new. That’s exactly why Betterly developed subscription boxes to help you develop interests and discover new hobbies.
We believe in the importance of time spent off-screen and want to help you make the most of your free time. And developing a new skill can help you kick the January blues, too!
For example, have you ever been curious about the mystic arts, but been too intimidated to dive in? Check out Betterly’s Crystal Box or the Divination Box. These subscriptions to a monthly box — complete with instructions, informative booklets, and tools — make these magical arts approachable and fun.
All of our subscription boxes are hands on, so you won’t just be reading about divination or crystals — you’ll be doing guided activities designed to enhance your knowledge and develop your craft.
This is true of all our boxes — want to get crafty? Try the Paper Craft Box to learn designer paper craft or the Paint & Color Box that includes various items to paint along with colour-combining tutorials.
Beat the Blues
Escape the doldrums by staying active, staying offline, and engaging your inspired self!
Whatever it is you’re interested in — with a Betterly subscription or not — use the winter to engage your mind offline. Invigorate your creativity and learn or create something new. An engaged mind is a happy one and the January blues won’t be able to touch you.