Monday 17 January 2022

Get Outside to Cheer Yourself Up on Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday - supposedly the most miserable day of the year. Actually, the third Monday in January got given that name by a travel company wanting to sell more holidays to far-off shores and sunny climes, but many of us in gloomy England feel down in the dumps at this time of year. What makes it worse in 2022 is that we're heading into the third year of a pandemic along with other woes in the world in general. 

If you're feeling seriously depressed, then do contact your GP or a mental health professional, but for a case of the January blues you can sometimes help yourself cheer up. I find going for a walk in nature, especially on a sunny day, can lift my mood even if it's cold. 

I live in a London suburb, so not out in the countryside. However, there are still green spots to be found including parks, gardens and verges. The picture was one I took a few days ago when I was exploring my local area. The bottom of the photo shows a row of dingy bin sheds, but behind them the tree branches are stretching up into a clear, bright sky in a pleasant park. All I had to do was walk around the corner and I'd be there, away from the grimness and the rubbish.

Is there is somewhere plants and trees and grass grow near you? You could look on a map and see if there's a park that you've not visited before - or not for a long time. Plan a walk there and back. On the way, pay attention to any other greenery you might see, whether that's trees lining the streets or things in people's gardens. Pick a route along quieter streets and alleyways or through churchyards or other parks rather than main roads, even if it means walking a winding path instead of going in a sttraight line. Stop and look at things that take your interest. Maybe snap a photo or two as well.

For those who can't get outside, opening the window and spending some time looking out can be almost as good. Observe what's going on in the street but also pay attention to any greenery or wildlife you might see. A guided visualisation can also help. I shared one called The January Garden on my post at the Moon Books Blog

If you are having a really hard time and need someone to talk to then, if you are living in England, the Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day:

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