How to combat Blue Monday 2020
Don't feel dreary this Blue Monday: ideas and inspiration for cheering up the most depressing day of the year
Blue Monday is now upon us once more, falling on Monday 20 January in 2020. If you wake up feeling a little anxious, depressed or with lower energy levels than usual, you’re not alone. Here’s what to do on Blue Monday in London to recharge your positivity.
Breathe mindfully at Breathpod
It might sound obvious, but conscious, calm breathing can do wonders for restoring peace of mind. What’s more, despite the fact we take 20,000 breaths a day on average, our worries and daily stresses often prevent us from breathing in the optimal way. When done properly, though, breathing can relieve stress, anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that transformational breathing was one of the big wellness trends of 2019 (you might even wonder what took it so long to become a ‘thing’). If you’re feeling low or anxious this Blue Monday, you can still jump on board with the trend and book into a class at a Breathpod studio. Founded by Transformational Breath Coach Stuart Sandeman, the classes are designed to help you work through any physical, mental and emotional blocks.
Watch a feel-good West End musical
Few experiences fuel the soul like watching a company of passionate professionals bring a story to life through songs on stage. While all good West End musicals offer this experience, you’ll want to choose wisely if you’re currently in the throes of Blue Monday. We recommend dodging the tear-jerkers and finding a feel-good musical. Our current top pick is & Juliet from pop song-writer supreme Max Martin. The new jukebox musical is a glitzy, girl-powered alternative take on Romeo and Juliet that's stuffed with songs you’ll want to sing along to, from ...Baby One More Time and I Kissed a Girl to I Can’t Stop The Feeling.
Read our full review of & Juliet and book
Strengthen the mind and and soak your muscles
While having a hot bath features in almost every article on ‘self-care’, hear us out; it’s not merely the act of having a bath that counts, but what you soak your muscles in. According to studies, fragrance and scent can have a massive effect on mood – so it makes sense to envelop yourself within a whiff of something designed to cheer you up. One of our favourites is the über-fragrant Stress-Fix Composition Oil by Aveda (£24) for body, bath and scalp. The organic lavender and clary sage will ease a frazzled mind and body.
If your feelings of stress, anxiety, nervousness or lack of energy are of the more serious sort, you might benefit from a course in Sophrology. The practice blends Eastern practices with Western science to help strengthen body and mind, create more balance, and bring positivity and wellbeing in your daily life. Curious to give it a try? Book in for a course with BeSophro.
Seek solace in the sartorial world
You’ll be hard pushed to find an exhibition more colourful and uplifting than the polychromatic retrospective of the inimitable Dame Zandra Rhodes, which is in residence at the Fashion & Textile Museum until 26 January. Celebrating 80-year-old Rhodes’ five decades of design, the exhibition is a homage to her career: from the archive collections shining bright on the first floor to the dream-like maze of hanging, printed silk-screened textiles on the floor above. Pore over Rhodes’ designs for the San Diego Opera – spanning The Magic Flute to Aida – and peer at the spirited illustrations inside her sketchbooks. This kaleidoscopic retrospective of the work of one of fashion’s golden girls is sure to lift spirits.
Dig into guilt-free comfort food
Whether you’re a full-time vegan, a Veganuary trouper or a full-blown carnivore trying to watch what you eat, maintaining a healthy diet can be especially hard during the most depressing day of the year. So why not leave your soggy salad and murky-looking smoothie in the fridge for another day, and treat yourself to a close-your-eyes-and-sigh plate of comfort food? Wait – we’re not talking your average burger and pizza fare, but their plant-based equivalents. With so many London eateries proudly promoting their Veganuary menu, you’re likely to find all your favourite meals and snacks in vegan form if you know where to look, so you can gorge guilt-free. Vegan Oreo Pizza, anyone?
Laugh yourself happy at the Comedy Carnival
It’s a known fact that laughter decreases your stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, the body's own feel-good chemicals. If you’ve found yourself in a Blue Monday slump, book yourself in for some belly laughs at Comedy Carnival Leicester Square. The annual festival is now in its 15th year and is known for hosting stars of the comedy scene (previous big name acts include Michael McIntyre, Sara Pascoe and Russell Brand) as well as showcasing diverse and international comedians. Let the jokes roll in and your glum thoughts fade away.
Read more and book tickets to Comedy Carnival – Culture Whisper members go free
Burrow under your duvet with Netflix in tow – or share the load at the cinema
If all you want to do on Blue Monday is dive back under your duvet, seek shelter in softness and call on the magic of a feel-good film to pick up your mood, maybe you should follow that instinct. While we’re not suggesting you take the day off work to pander to this desire (Blue Monday really doesn’t warrant that level of wallowing), it’s perfectly acceptable to jump straight back into bed as soon as you're home. In fact, let us aid your burrowing with our guide to the best TV on this week.
But maybe, just maybe, you'll muster the energy to zone out in a communal setting watching a brilliant movie on a big, shiny screen. If so, our top pick is undoubtedly Greta Gerwig's stunning retelling of Little Women. Yet to see it? This masterful movie is a chance to discover the story that moved the lives of many for centuries. And if you're worried about its bleaker aspects, fear not: Gerwig’s genius, reinvented finale opens up the conversation for endless happy endings and provides just the medicine needed to carry you over a Blue Monday hump.