Today is Blue Monday, which is statistically one of the toughest days of the year for general mental wellbeing. Originally coined in 2004 by the psychologist Cliff Arnall, it falls on a theoretical convergence point of several key things that can negatively impact mood. Monday is often seen as the most difficult day of the week, and the fact that this one happens significantly far enough from the joy of Christmas and New Year celebrations, and during a month where the weather in most of the Western world is at is worst, makes it a challenging one for anyone struggling with motivation or mental health. Three weeks is often long enough for most to give up their new year resolutions, and fall back into old habits, which can be extremely demotivating.
While the science behind Blue Monday certainly isn’t exact, it’s a good opportunity for you to consider your mental wellbeing in January. Our mission on Top Ten Reviews is to help you live better, healthier, and safer lives as well as picking out the consumer products you’ve been thinking of buying. Through our guides to things like the best cell phone providers and the best health insurance providers, for example, we always look to make your day-to-day easier and more satisfying. So, for Blue Monday, we’ve gathered a variety of things to help make life a little better. That might be an uplifting TV show to help you escape your troubles for a bit, a new piece of tech that gives you a better night’s sleep, or a recommendation for a service that will assist you in dealing with life-problems. None will solve problems, or even banish the Blue Monday, er, blues, but they might make today a little easier for you and spark a tiny bit of joy in what’s otherwise a difficult month of the year.
1. Improve the quality of your sleep
It’s easy to get up on the wrong side of the bed when the first thing you experience in the morning is your dreaded alarm. Fortunately, there’s an emerging market of wake-up light alarm clocks (opens in new tab) to get your day off to a brighter start. Warm-toned light wakes the body up, so the alarm clock simulates a sunrise before your desired wakeup time, tuning in with your body’s natural biorhythms with warm, increasingly bright light.
At the desired wakeup time your radio or alarm noise of choice will sound and you can wake up to an already-bright room. The warm light of a sunrise alarm clock naturally combats Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can be caused by a lack of sunlight. No more wrestling with your phone’s ten consecutive alarms, as these are some of the best alarm clocks you can buy.
2. Get help with your taxes, and start to solve a big problem
We get it, filing taxes is the worst. In a recent survey, 30% of Americans said they’d rather eat a bowl of insects than deal with tax returns. Just figuring out what to do and where to start can be tough, and it’s easy to shift to the bottom of your priority list. But it sits there, like an anchor, weighing down your mood… so why not take the first positive step to sorting it out, and give yourself a huge boost of the day you need it most. We’ve got guides to the best tax software, best accounting software, and the best credit repair services to help you make that initial leap. It may seem odd recommending something so daunting on a day like Blue Monday but if you can tackle one of the hardest jobs a little, it feels incredible.
3. Find a feel-good show on Netflix or Disney Plus
No one can blame you if you want to curl up in bed all day and watch TV, in fact we recommend it. Well maybe not bed, see if you can make it down to the couch and then see what delights you can find in the world of TV and movie streaming. Netflix has a wealth of movies for you to choose from, including a personal favourite feel-good movie - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. They’ve also got more than their fair share of trashy rom-coms if that’s more your thing.
If you’ve exhausted Netflix’s library already (we’re not judging you), then check out Disney Plus, the new streaming service from Disney which has a staggering library of movies for you to binge through. You can just stream your way through the day listening to inspiring songs in Moana or snappy one liners in Marvel’s Avengers.
4. Go out and take some photos (or anything for yourself)
Landscape photography can be a great way to tackle those darker moments. It's about making time for yourself and going through what can be quite a calming process. Daybreak brings the best light and while getting up before sunrise isn’t for everyone, this time of year means you shouldn’t have to set the alarm clock any earlier than normal.
Making the most of these conditions though means that total concentration is required and from the moment you arrive at your chosen location, you can find yourself lost in the moment. Rather than getting your camera out straight away, spend some time walking around and thinking about how best to frame your photo, as well as other considerations like camera settings and lens choice. This is the time when you get a chance to slow down and really focus on what’s in front of you and not obsess about other things going on in your life.
While there’s nothing wrong with using a smartphone, to really get the most out of your photography, you’ll want a dedicated camera. We’ve picked out some of the best beginner cameras you can buy, as well as the best DSLR and best mirrorless cameras to get you started.
5. Embrace your inner child, and buy a ‘toy’
Sometimes you just can’t be bothered with this whole ‘being an adult’ business. And who can blame you, especially at this time of year when the days are short and the weather is miserable. So why not sack it all off and spend the day being a big kid? We’re serious, just let adult life melt away and play with some toys.
There are tons of gadgets for big kids looking to unwind. Why not pick up a remote control car and tear it up in the garden or down the road. These might look like kids toys, but some of them can hit 60 mph. If you’ve ever wanted to own a Bugatti Veyron, but don’t quite have the requisite $1 million then try this pint-sized replica. Or if you've got a pond in your garden or live near one, you could even abandon land completely with a remote control boat. Seriously, let the adult stuff wait until tomorrow, be a kid for the day.
Do not ignore your mental wellbeing
This feature is intended to offer quick tips to help enhance your day. None of the above is intended to be a solution for long-term mood disorders or mental health issues. If you have serious concerns about your mood or mental health today, or any other day, please speak to a professional or dedicated helpline as soon as you are able.
Some of America’s top-rated helplines are as follows: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Awareness hotline 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or you can text the Crisis Helpline. All services are free of charge, and you do not need to notify your health insurance provider, although you may be encouraged to follow-up with your provider for further treatment and services.