Monday 16th of January is Blue Monday - officially the most depressing day of the year (apparently!). Here's a few ways you can beat the blues and lift your spirits.
If the lack of sunlight is a contributing factor to your blues, invest your Monday lunchtime wisely and get outdoors. Whether it’s running, cycling or walking, the fresh air and exercise will soon get the endorphins flowing, giving you an instant boost. Topping up your vitamin D will also help your general well being and boost your immune system, so take supplements, or eat foods like tuna, cereals, soy milk cheese and egg yolk to up your daily intake.
If you think we’ve got it bad, spare a thought for our Scandinavian neighbours suffering average daily temperatures of 0 oC and even less daylight hours than the UK. To counter this, the Scandinavians have Hygge, a Danish term relating to qualities of ‘coziness and conviviality’. In practice, it means taking pleasure in simple, soothing things: wearing a pair of warm cashmere socks; snuggling in front of a warm fire; savouring a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The concept has recently attracted international fame and even made it into the Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 ‘word of the year’ list. There are books abound on the subject, so it shouldn’t be too hard to bring a bit of Hygge into your life this January.
Take a social media hiatus
A recent study suggested that checking social media regularly is having a negative impact on our self-esteem. No surprise when the majority of posts are self-aggrandising, life-affirming rhetoric, or else snaps of people on sunny holidays, seemingly having more fun than you. So, if social is getting you down, just don’t look at it. This may seem like a radical concept to the addicts among you, but trust me, you can do it! Read a book or listen to the radio instead. You’ll relax more and sleep better.
Have you ever wondered why we pile the pressure on ourselves to conform to unrealistic goals and expectations every January? No doubt the excesses of the festive season play a role, but when you think about it, the miserable weather and long, dark nights aren’t the ideal conditions to foster success. It’s no wonder that by mid-January most people’s best intentions have already gone awry. But why worry? If you fall off the wagon in January, just set a date to get back on it. After all, there’s nothing special about this month. The key is to establish good habits that you can maintain for the majority of the year, whilst accepting that we all need to satisfy a craving every now and then – it’s what makes us human. So, stop stressing. It never gets you anywhere.
Get ahead with your finances
Sorting our finances always seem to be at the bottom of the to-do list, even though it’s the one job with the potential to make us better-off. With low interest rates and inflation on the rise, your cash savings pot is effectively shrinking, so make 2017 the year you make your money start working for you again. Stock market returns are within reach of everyone, thanks to new online investment services, like Wealthify, that will build and manage a comprehensive portfolio of investments for you for a simple annual fee. With investing, there’s always a chance you could get back less than you put in, but you can choose a risk level that’s right for you and, like any savings account, withdraw whenever you like, without penalty. Whilst you can’t rely on past performance to predict how the stocks and shares markets will behave tomorrow, history suggests that people investing during any 10-year period since 1984 in the FTSE 100 index had an 88%1 chance of making a positive return on their money.
Please remember that the value of your investments can go down as well as up and you can get back less than invested.
1 Bloomberg Data
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The comments and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and should not be taken as financial advice from Wealthify.