Grab a brew and reconnect with
The third Monday of January is officially the day known as BLUE MONDAY. This is the day more people are reported to feel fed up and blue: I really don't like that idea, so I'm giving you some creative tips to avoid feeling the blues... or at least to really enjoy the blues you create! There is no need to do all of these, just choose the ones that appeal to you.
Top tips to make your life more colourful and creative:
Splash some colour around. Painting is a great activity. Don't worry about what to paint, just let the colours do whatever happens. It's the act of painting, the process that's important rather than the outcome.
Treat yourself to doing something different such as learning a new creative skill or activity. It doesn't have to be art. Try joining a choir, playing an instrument or take a dance class. The sound of music is known to induce feelings of wellbeing, and the social side is really good for you too!
Take a walk outside. Walking is brilliant for you. Research has shown that regular brisk walking several times each week improves your overall health considerably.
Take any sort of exercise. Whether it's walking, running, pilates, yoga, football, tennis, swimming, boxing, it doesn't really matter. All sorts of exercise are good to make your blood flow and to increase endorphins.
Gratitude journaling. Begin to write down things that you are greatful for. If you are feeling really blue you may not think that you have much, but even the smallest things should be noted. Make a regular time, it only needs to be a few minutes each day.
Draw something. It really doesn't matter what! Just start with making a regular drawing every day. There are lots of word prompts on line to give you a stimulus for the subject matter. This regular activity will repay you with a steady improvement. Just don't quit after the first few days. They say that 21 days is needed to achieve results, so aim for three weeks or more.
Turn your phone and tech to night setting. On an iPhone go to Settings then select Display and Brightness and press Night Shift. You can preset the times you want to use the softer colours and it eliminates much of the harsher blue light, with the aim that you will sleep better.
This image was taken at The Hepworth, Wakefield. Steven Claydon, Like Shooting Sparrows in the Dark 3, (deterrent lure) 2016. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
Try to make your bedroom a technology free zone ( yes I know this is a tricky one). Save the tech for downstairs and use an alarm clock to wake you. If you banish electronics from the bedroom you won't be tempted to use them during the night. By putting a notebook and pencil by your bed to jot down ideas and thoughts, or nagging worries, make a to do list for the next day etc. the idea is that you will sleep better. If you are lucky enough, perhaps you will even be able to record your dreams in the morning... Your body will benefit from the more restful sleep you will hopefully enjoy. You may also find a SAD light is a helpful bright light to make you feel more optimistic during the daylight hours. I use one during the dark winters days and love it!
If you have financial troubles seek help. Get a credit card with 0% interest. Tell somebody and work out a manageable plan to make your repayments.
Breathe Deeply. Before you go to sleep and when you wake up treat yourself to a minute of really deep breathing. Oxygen is necessary to repair your body, so your body will thank you.
Have some FUN! Do something you wouldn't usually consider. Schedule it into your diary and take a friend along. It doesn't matter what, as long as it makes you laugh. Ever fancied archery? A night at the latest cinema release? Sledging with the kids? Yes good old human interaction!
Look at artists. Picasso was famous for his blue period and Yves Klien even invented his own shade of blue. A famously depressed artist was Van Gogh... Do you have any other suggestions?
Rose tinted glasses? Treat yourself to some fresh flowers. Really spend time choosing colours and shapes you are drawn to. I recommend going to an actual florist, as they will let you mix the colours and textures. You may even smell which ones are loveliest!
Smells... Scents and fragrances are very powerful and can be really uplifting. Try going into a department store and try on a few new fragrances. Your nose can get overwhelmed with too many: three seems a good number.
Cook something tasty. The brighter the colours the better, think blueberry muffins, beetroot soup! You get the idea I'm sure...
Wear bright colour clothing. That's sure to make you and everyone around you feel brighter.
Make a brew of your favourite cuppa. Meet up with a friend in real life, or at very least stick the kettle on, have a cuppa of your favourite brew and phone a friend. Make it a BREW Monday... (but if you have trouble sleeping make it a decaff after 2pm in the afternoon).
Please let me know in the comments below if you found this helpful or if you have any other top tips. I'd love to hear what you think.
If you have found this article hasn't helped at all please don't feel that you are alone. Depression is an illness, so if you think this is something you can no longer handle on your own please seek help. You are certainly not alone. I recommend the book 'Cheer Up Love' by Susan Calman.
If you are still feeling depressed tell a friend or visit a medical professional. SAMARITANS www.samaritans.org or call free any time on 116 123 (UK)