5 Happiness Hacks to Beat Blue Monday & Depressing January

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Research and Statistics say January is a depressing month. I am not sure I fully agree. In fact so much so there is a day called Blue Monday, the 3rd Monday of the month.

Now in the northern Hemisphere for sure, Winter is still abound and for some of us the days seem short and always dark so that grey feeling can sometimes seep in. Though it isn’t that all over the world for sure.

And let’s be honest a month can’t be depressing, or give us the blues. It’s a feeling we adopt and allow in.

Mental Health is big news. Campaigns to stop the stigma and talk about it ‘more’ are established as it has often been hidden and ignored as well as underfunded and often people are told to pull their socks up when it comes to depression or feeling blue, and clinical depression is more than just feeling blue. So not negating the journey many suffer silently.

However this ‘Blue Monday’ and January being depressing is little to do with mental health, it is to do with how little money apparently people have till pay day after the Christmas spend. It has more to do with the fact that suddenly all the party invitations have gone so there is little to do. So apparently that makes us all blue?

To add to this and the part that gets glossed and mostly ignores is always the inner part, 3 weeks in, people are realising that their resolutions if they created them (and why would you?) and hopes and plans for the New Year are slowly being dashed and consumed with that same old feeling. New Year Old You.

That realisation that doing the same which people do on automatic pilot; think, react, respond, say no to the same things that they really want to say YES to and YES to the things that they don’t want to and so on, is just making nothing feel particularly new.

That doesn’t feel good. It creates an angst, it creates a disappointment about self, it creates a tension and a feeling of helplessness and a total memory loss that you hold the power and the keys to open the door to new possibilities and opportunities as well as experiences to really make this year ROCK your world and be brilliant!

To combat this on what is called Blue Monday I am sharing 5 hacks for happiness in 2018. Be warned however they aren’t one off things to do. You don’t eat once in your life and say I have been fed forever as the hunger, weakness and the rest that would follow would consume you. And it would be your own making for not eating again. Consistency and regular commitment is key!!!

Happiness isn’t a location or a set of circumstances to achieve, or even a template to ‘fit’ into, It is something personal and involves themes around feeling like life is moving forward, you becoming more confident, courageous, and so on and my 5 Happiness Hacks are about you building a sustainable foundation from where your happy is born.

5 Happiness Hacks to Beat Blue Monday and for you to use all year and forever!

  1. Commit to do something new every week. Put it in your diary. Now that new can be from attending a new class, to eating something you have never eaten before or doing something that you would never do. So for me going to the Cinema on a ‘Me, Myself & I Date’ would be an example. And the fact that it makes me feel uncomfortable thinking about it – all the better. As then I am stepping out of comfort and old ways into an expansion. Expanding what I do as well as expanding what I am comfortable with and that old saying the fun begins outside of your comfort zone is oh so true. You don’t have to do the something new only on your own, that is hack #2.
  2. Have a Me, Myself and I Date. Many people make all the time in the world for everyone else, imagining that the others need them so much that they have to drop everything, which mostly means dropping themselves from any priority list and be there for everyone or anyone else. Now I am not suggesting you stop assisting others, or sharing and giving, however you must do that for you too. And secondly a great fear amongst a great majority is the illusion of ‘loneliness’. This sense that being alone even for an evening while your partner goes out is not nice. People say that makes them feel lonely. Recently I heard a saying, if you find being on your own lonely-making, then you must be in bad company. Ouch. So this Me, Myself & I Date is about you becoming your own best friend. Do whatever suits you and of course combine with hack 1. Make this year about self-sufficiency. A funny thing happens when you practice this, you have more time for others and you stop seeking approval from others which is a BIG reason people run to be the I am there for you person, I will give up what I was doing because you say you need me!
  3. Take up meditation! Meditation is a date with you and of course you can join a class so you will be with others, or use an app and do it solo etc. However this practice as it develops can and does help you feel connected to your self, and develops a strong sense of well-being. Scientifically it is proven to do some brain stuff so it isn’t just woo woo and for everyone, don’t just sit there on your own thinking that you are meditating. Go learn it as it isn’t a thinking exercise or just an experience to see bright colours and fractals. That just isn’t the purpose or point of meditation.
  4. Make a plan & have a weekly to do list. Shock horror for some, I have put two things that people try and avoid together. If you don’t have a plan you have no direction and that sense of old habits and patterns creeping back and new year old me will come flooding back. A to do list is for you to celebrate what you have achieved not what you didn’t. That’s the hack and you know everyone, even Bill Gates or Warren Buffet will have things that they wanted to complete and didn’t in a week – that isn’t a cause to beat themselves up. Celebrate what you achieved and of course you will identify a pattern if you ignore everything in your to do list. Nearly 8 years ago I put in my diary that Fridays was my book writing day. It worked for a while and then it stopped and this reminder would pop up and make me feel pretty pants. So last year I explored it, yup I was being a laggard as I wasn’t willing to let go of an idea while at the same time trying to make myself feel bad. I deleted that ‘entry’ and goodness me it has made room for new. I don’t suggest keeping something on your to do list for 8 years. A few weeks to a few months is all that is necessary and then review. When we don’t do something it might be that it isn’t really in alignment or there is something that is missing beforehand that we have ignored. Once you nail that, things move rather than stay as an incomplete item. (I have published books in those 8 years it was just a specific project I was holding on to.)
  5. Have fun! Whatever life or financial circumstance you are in, it is easy to put FUN on the back burner. Haven’t got time to meet friends, or enjoy the things you love doing whatever they are, well make time. If you have to put it in your diary so you are committed, (I do) and whatever you are feeling just before, go do it. Now fun is fun, I am not talking classes or the Gym, even if you find all of that fun. I am talking, let your hair down and go laugh, make merry and be playful. My Spiritual Teacher says, if it isn’t fun why you doing it. She means that for everything and she is 100% right though it has taken a journey to get there and the best place to start is to have more fun.

What else would you add? Which Happiness Hack stands out for you as the one you are going to go implement first? I would love to hear from you so leave me a comment and don’t forget to share this article. As for blues in January you can put things in place to make it a whole lot happier. I know.

Sarupa Shah

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