January is a hard month. Generally coinciding with the darkest and coldest days of winter it comes at a time when many are feeling empty and spent, especially after December’s month of giving.
Add to this the expectation of everyone bouncing around on the “new year, new you” bandwagon and it’s no wonder many feel a sense of the blues.
However it doesn’t have to be this way. The reality is January – and this Blue Monday in particular – should only be doom and gloom if we let it.
For January is the month which heralds in a new year and one that could be full of new opportunities and a fresh start. That doesn’t mean we should all necessarily be setting ourselves new and possibly unattainable goals, such as doing Veganuary or giving up all known pleasures, but it does mean we should at least start being kinder to ourselves.
Neither does the colour blue have to have negative connotations. Far from it. It can be a very positive colour, relaxing us when we feel stressed or anxious, cooling us when we overheat and, for many children, when asked to draw a landscape, the sky is depicted in blue with a big yellow sun, evoking a sense of happiness.
When it comes to our homes, blue is a great colour to use. In Cornwall for example, it is a colour seen readily in towns and villages used to paint window frames and doors, possibly because it looks fresh and inviting. A blue front door, whether a rich navy or royal blue gives a home a really smart look.
Stepping inside, blue is a colour which can be used as much or as little as you like. Certainly in these financially tricky times you don’t have to go all out and redecorate your home entirely. A few accents dotted around will be more than enough and they don’t have to break the bank.
Cushions, curtains, rugs, lamp shades, throws, candles, a few pieces of crockery, blue doors on your kitchen cabinets or a feature wall can all have a bit of blue in them and, depending on the shade, can either brighten up or bring a certain freshness to the room in question. Having a revamp of a particular room, perhaps one you like the least, is also a good way to give your mood a boost, especially if you have been putting it off for a while. The sense of satisfaction at having achieved it will be worth it and is guaranteed to make you feel better!
There are also other things we can do in our homes to banish the blues. For example, having a good clean or clear out can really lift the spirits. Getting rid of clothes you can no longer get in to, or are no longer in vogue, reducing your stash of books, CDs or DVDs to more manageable quantities can not only create more space but can also in the process make you feel more positive. In fact, lightening the load and de-cluttering can be incredibly empowering and cathartic and boost our moods.
If you are lucky enough to have some outside space, take some time out to appreciate it and make the most of it. Gardening has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression and improve wellbeing. So getting out, even if it’s just tidying up the garden, planting a few bulbs to enjoy later in the year, clearing out the shed, or even just feeding the birds, can have really positive effects on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
If you plant anything try and find flowers which you can cut and bring inside to put in vases, as fresh flowers always brighten up a room, no matter what the month.
Other things that reduce our feelings of the blues are taking time to be with family and friends, those who make you laugh and doing things that bring you joy.
So why not get in touch with them, arrange to meet and have some fun. Or do whatever it is that makes you happy – whether cosying up at home with a good book, filling your home with flowers, watching a film, eating some chocolates or going to the gym – and hopefully banish the blues this January.