The Post-Holiday Blues: Addiction & Blue Monday

The time of year, when the highs of the holiday season have worn off, and the Christmas comedown sets in. We may begin to search elsewhere to find that holiday thrill. Synthetic highs, such as drugs and alcohol, begin to look like an easy replacement to restore that buzz.

fight blue monday, don't turn to addiction

What Makes January So Tough?

For many people, a new year is a positive fresh start to begin creating new, better versions of themselves. January is often seen as a clean slate to begin forming better habits. This positive outlook, unfortunately, does not always translate into everyone’s lives. The post-holiday season can be an incredibly hard time of the year for countless people.

Christmas has finished and any buzz or excitement from the build-up to the new year has fizzled out. Your decorations have been packed up. The nights are still long, dark, and potentially lonely, but our festive lights and music have gone away. Some of us are left with mounting debt from the holiday season. Then Blue Monday enters the scene.

What Does Blue Monday Mean?

Blue Monday is the nickname for the ‘most depressing day of the year’, arriving on the third Monday of January. This date was supposedly calculated by considering variable factors, such as:

  • Weather Conditions.
  • Debt Levels.
  • The Time Since Christmas and/or Last Pay Day.
  • The Time Since Potentially Failing Your New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Low Motivational Levels.
  • The Feeling of a Call to Action.

All these factors are then combined to calculate the most depressing day of the year. Consequently, this has translated into the moniker ‘Blue Monday’.

What Can You Do Against Blue Monday?

  1. Make the Most of the Daylight. Whilst the cold weather may not be exactly appealing, being outdoors and in the sunlight can help boost your energy levels. Natural light has also been linked to increasing serotonin levels, which can lead to an improved mood.
  2. Maintain a Balanced Diet. Keeping a varied and healthy diet can help your gut and your mental health.
  3. Keep a Healthy Sleep Schedule. Poor sleep can have an incredibly negative effect on your mental health. Increased irritability, anxiety, and worry from a lack of will not help.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself. Many people set unrealistic expectations for their New Year resolutions. It is easy to demotivate or deflate yourself if you then cannot keep them.
  5. Switch Off Your Devices. Our devices can be full of depressing news, endless social media scrolling, and fake social media posts. Take some time away from your phone or computer every day.
  6. Learn Something New. Devoting yourself to a new hobby, activity, or group can be a great way of taking your mind away from your January blues. It can also be a fantastic confidence booster.
  7. Identify Your Worries or Triggers. If you know watching the news or speaking with certain people can ruin your mood, then allow yourself some time away from them. You are always allowed time to prioritise your wellbeing over pleasing others.
  8. Engage in Simple Pleasures. If you particularly like painting, reading, knitting, or various sports, then set yourself time to re-engage with your pleasures. It can be a good way of bringing back previous pleasant memories.

Addiction and Blue Monday

Though some people believe that the concept of Blue Monday is merely a pseudo-science, it holds its roots in a very real issue for many people. The term ‘Blue Monday’ may have started as the result of a PR stunt; however, its sentiment rings true for many people. Especially for those struggling over the holiday period with family struggles or personal grievances for example.

We often find that addictive tendencies and poor mental health, often go hand-in-hand. It is, therefore, of little surprise that they should discussed with the ‘most depressing day of the year’. Depressive episodes can be a time where substance abuse may increase, which in turn often harms us and our loved ones.

Reaching Out for Help

If you feel that you, or one of your loved ones, may be suffering this January or around Blue Monday, help is only a phone call away.

Here at New Leaf Recovery, we have various services, from therapy, to rehab, to specialised treatments. You are never alone in any struggle; our team of specialists are here to support you. Call us today, or fill in our contact form, we’re here for you.