The 3rd Monday of January (the 19 January) is now officially known as Blue Monday: basically the most depressing day of the year.
The post Christmas glow has warn off, the bank balances need a boost and its two months till the clocks change and spring time arrives.
But fear not there are ways to counter feeling blue. Its all about making the most of the season and embracing the drama of winter and the gradual lengthening of the days.
So here’s my top five tips for banishing the blues and lifting the spirits as we await the arrival of spring:
1. Seeing stars – a cold clear night is perfect for looking up into the sky and seeing sparkling stars and the bright moon. You don’t need loads of fancy equipment and there are some really good stargazing app’s out there. Often the glow of streetlights in towns and cities can hinder stargazing but its still worth taking the time to look up; its an amazing experience and if you get hooked you can venture out into the countryside.
2. Walkies – for many going for walk is associated with a lot of kit and going on long walks through the countryside. But a walk around where you live is a great way to get to know your local neighbourhood, looking up at the buildings or finding green spaces. Walking helps stimulate the mind and is the right pace of exercise to bring real benefits. All you need to do is wrap up and go for a stroll – try starting with 20 or 30 minutes a day.
3. Tuning in – its amazing what you can hear if you block out the noise of daily life. Birds are starting to sing their merry tunes. Dawn is inching forward and the birds know it. The dusk chorus can also be pretty spectacular as the birds look toward the longer days. Birdsong is a real tonic to the winter blues. Listening to the wind blowing through the trees or enjoying a moment of silence in the countryside or a local park can be uplifting. You can find lots of information about bird spotting.
4. Wild time memories – if you’re struggling to keep up your New Year’s Resolution why not renew your vows and set up a wild memory bank. It could be a notebook or a tin where you scribble down all of the outdoors things that you do and then look back at them when you get to the end of 2015.
5. Drawing – I’ve really got into drawing recently. Not grand still life’s or wonderful landscapes. It could be a bowl of fruit or a favourite view. The act of sitting down with a piece of paper, a pencil and pens and taking the time to just draw or even doodle is a calming experience.