Did you know that the third Monday of the year, this year Jan 18th, is called “Blue Monday” – the “scientifically proven most depressing day of the year”?
This is actually pseudoscience (apparently the term was first used by a travel company back in 2005 – maybe to sell all those post-holiday trips?), but there is something to it…
Mid January can be difficult for many of us. Holidays are over, the resolve to stick to our New Year’s resolution may be fading, and for us in the Northern hemisphere the days are cold, short and dark (we’re from Finland, so trust us – we know this TOO well).
Our approach to alleviate this seasonal blues is a method recommended by health and happiness experts, psychologists and a growing body of research: small behavioral interventions. In YOU-terminology: micro-actions – small, concrete actions you can incorporate into any day. Want to give your blues the boot? Here are our team’s 6 favorite micro-actions to boost your January:
1 | ENERGIZE WITH MUSIC!
“I often listen to music that reflects my mood – powerful beats for a workout, jazz for a quiet night in, easy pop for walks…
But sometimes when I’m feeling a bit low on energy I do the other way around – I put on energizing, uplifting music on high volume and dance through the apartment!
After such an energy boost it’s difficult not to feel the least bit better :)”
–Nora, COO & CFO of YOU
2 | BOOK IN QUALITY TIME
“For me this micro-action is not only making sure I take enough time for myself to do something I like, but also paying attention and being grateful for it.
It’s sometimes so easy to end up just idling mindlessly and not really enjoying my free time.”
–Aleksi, CTO of YOU
3 | 5-MINUTE MORNING MEDITATION
“Up until very recently I had always failed my resolution of starting a daily meditation practice. Why? I didn’t schedule time for it and thought I needed to reserve at least 20 minutes to feel any difference.
A month ago I changed my strategy and started a 5-minute morning meditation project. Now that I’ve made it concrete (every morning after brushing my teeth) and micro (committing to 5 minutes only), for the first time I’ve been able to truly keep doing it! It feels amazing. I often end up going “overtime” because I am off to a good start!”
–Nelli, CEO of YOU
4 | EAT THE RAINBOW!
“I’m currently pregnant and hence have lots more cravings. What’s helping me keep off the excessive sweets is a personal challenge to add us much natural color to my meals as possible!
You shouldn’t underestimate the uplifting effect nutritiously dense food can have on your mood, but there are also other benefits – it’s fun to plan your meals around different colors, you really do eat with your eyes first and so it helps me eat more mindfully.
Also, when I do break out the ice cream, I end up adding fruit, berries and coconut flakes for color :)”
(on your phone? check out the week action)
5 | DO A 2-MINUTE WORKOUT
“I used to obsess over getting enough gym-time each week, and if I didn’t have at least 45-minutes, I felt it just wasn’t worth it. Not surprisingly, when life got busy (as it tends to) my exercise plummeted.
With the 2-minute rule there are no excuses – I can always find 2 minutes for squats, planking, burpees, hand stands, you name it. And doing a 2-minute plank is definitely better than no planking at all so it always pays off!”
6 | EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD
“This micro-action is about walking mindfully and maybe taking an extra detour on your way to work, home or for errands. It’s surprising how much there is to see even in places we visit every day!
Breaking routines and noticing new things is a great stress reliever and it’s also an easy way to get a bit of extra movement done!”
What could you do this week to give yourself a January boost?
Pick one from above, join the actions on YOU-app or make your own. Whatever you choose to do – remember, the point is to make the micro-action small enough – so small you can always succeed. Pick one, scale it to fit your life and get started. Good luck!