Feeling particularly reluctant to get out of bed this morning? Well, at least there's something you can blame it on this time – today is Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, universally agreed to be the most depressing day of the year.
Why today? The idea was originally conceived by a PR company, who devised a formula to figure out when the slump was most likely to hit hardest after Christmas; using factors such as the weather, debt, the time since failing your New Year's Resolutions, and the general feeling of low motivation this time of year. The resulting 'Blue Monday' has now become recognised all over the world as being a day to wallow in the post-Christmas dumps.
Related: Eight things we should stop feeling
guilty about this year
But it doesn't have to be that way. While burrowing into a duvet for the day sounds good, wouldn't it be much better to flip Blue Monday on its head and do your mental health some good in the process?
Here are some tried and tested ways to survive the worst day of the year, and turn it into one of your best.
Get some exercise
Yes, we know its Baltic outside and going for a jog is probably the last thing you want to do, but it will help. Exercise is a natural energy booster and releases endorphins, helping you to feel happier and less stressed. You don't have to go for a 5k run or pound weights at the gym for hours to get an endorphin fix. Gentle workouts such as walking or yoga – or just getting out of the house for a while after work – will work wonders.
Indulge in some pampering
If heading to the gym isn't on the cards tonight, you should still pencil in some me-time in the form of pampering tonight. Have an indulgent shower or bath and/or do a full skincare routine. Put on new pyjamas and bedsheets, and watch or read something comforting.
Talk it out
Post-Christmas (and even Christmas itself) can be a tough time for a lot of people. If you're feeling down or anxious, take today as an opportunity to talk about it with someone you trust. A phone call to a family member at lunch, or even a chat over tea at 11 am in the break room with your best friend at work, will do your brain a lot of good. Having support from people who care about you will help you to work through any issues you're dealing with.
When work is feeling a little tedious, get the juices flowing by turning your hand to something creative. Preparing a great recipe for your dinner when you get home, free-writing some ramblings about your day, or even just doodling a picture will help to distract you from feeling low, and clear your head for when you need to get back to work.
Looking after yourself physically will benefit your mental health too. Cook yourself a nutritious, tasty meal from scratch for dinner tonight; taking the time to carefully prepare everything and clean up afterwards. When it's ready, take the time to savour every bite.
It's no secret that social media isn't the best medicine for mental health, and scrolling endlessly through Instagram on a day like today isn't going to do your mind any favours. Take an hour (at least) tonight to completely switch off from the digital world. Instead, take that time to immerse yourself completely in something else; even if it's just a TV show, it'll clear your mind and take that pesky self-comparison off your brain.
If you are continuously feeling low, tired, depressed, anxious or fearful, Samaritans is a free-phone service available to people who need to talk. Free to phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week, at 116 123.