Scientific Monday Blues

So, its Monday 16th January 2017. In my eyes, and I am fairly sure to the rest of the world, a fairly normal Monday, the same kind that comes and goes every seven days, and the same kind that marks the start of a new week. However, I was surprised to realise, that this Monday was apparently not an ordinary Monday, it was in fact the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’.

So I feel like I am a bit behind the hype of this anniversary, but with the help of some quick googling, today, or most specifically the third Monday of the month has been SCIENTIFICALLY labelled the most depressing day of the year. A group of scientists actually came up with a formula back in 2005 that calculated when the population of the Northern Hemisphere would be feeling at their lowest. And I am not sure about anyone else, but my goodness the fact someone wanted to calculate that made me sad!

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But it wasn’t until about half-way through my day that I knew Blue Monday was a thing, and before and after then I had actually had an alright day. I woke up, (however I had a small adult headache due to enjoying a couple glasses of wine last night to celebrate finishing my exams and getting some good essay results), walked onto campus and sat and did some uni work, went to a lecture about something that genuinely interested me (that was however interrupted by a fire alarm half way though so we had to stand out in the cold), and then I went to do some more work before walking home and retreating to my room to write this. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a spectacular day, and I could have done without the headache and the fire alarm, and the uni work to be honest, I didn’t once think ‘ugh well it’s blue Monday so that explains it’. It got me thinking, if we weren’t aware of it being said dreaded day, would we see the not so great things that happened to us as bad and depressing? Or would we do what I did and not even register them as anything.

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Me enjoying that wine…

But there are two outcomes I have seen come out of today, one of which I found frustrating and the other filled me with a bit more hope.

  1. The first, sadly, goes back to good old consumerism. Whilst flicking through my Instagram feed I noticed that any company/ clothing brand/ anyone that sells anything had latched on to this ‘Blue Monday’ idea with a firm grip. All would tell you that if you’re feeling blue, buy some clothes to cheer yourself up, grab some product to make you look or feel better, buy some food to comfort your sorrows. Anyone and everyone had used this ‘scientific discovery’ as a marketing push to get you to bust those blue with spending money – something which seems illogical because the ‘formula’ actually takes into account your debt at this time of the month.

I guess the real point I’m getting at here is it made me pretty sad that once again, like many things, this piece of research has been turned into a mass marketing campaign set to drive us to spend money.

 

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But if there was a cocktail deal on this evening, I probably would have been there quicker than you can say ‘2 for 1’ 

However, in a very non-cynical frame of mind, people have to make money somehow and its actually quite clever of them to use this to ramp up their numbers after January sales finish, which sort of leads me to my next point…

2. Blue Monday is actually going quite far in raising awareness for mental health and just the populations’ general well-being. So, its sad that someone has formulated when the most depressing day of the year is, but, does that not mean that people can look out for each other at this supposed ‘trying time’ in our lives? Charities are promoting mental health awareness, universities are offering free yoga classes, bloggers and websites are offering their tips to help beat the blues and promote healthy mental well-being.

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I go for walks with my family to cheer me up and have some thinking time.

So, yes, it seems as if Blue Monday has fallen prey to the world of consumerism and marketing just as all things do. But not all marketing is bad, to see that people were using this research to try and help and support others, filled me with an enormous sense of pride and hope in people, which made my ‘Blue Monday’, decidedly less blue.

So if you’re feeling glum, hug a friend, hug a pet, do some yoga, eat a pizza, call your mum, have a nap, talk to someone, read a book, dance around your house naked, you get the picture. Do whatever you want to do and what makes you happy, don’t sweat the small stuff and look for the positives in life, no matter how much adversity you face, but ultimately, stick together and support each other.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

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But sometimes staying positive can be really tough so here are some really great people/charities to call, get in contact with or check out if you ever need that extra support:

Mind: A charity and place for advice and support for anything mental health related http://www.mind.org.uk

Young Minds: For information and support for anyone concerned about a child or young person http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Samaritans:For anyone feeling distressed, needs support and someone to talk to http://www.samaritans.org

PANDAS Foundation: A charity focused on helping mothers with pre and postnatal depression  http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk

Nightline: For students who need someone to talk to if they are walking home alone or just need someone to listen http://nightline.ac.uk

(Note there are a lot of worthwhile charities that help with mental health and these are just a small selection and mainly UK based)

I realise again that this was a pretty hefty post, so thank you if you stuck with it, but I hope that at least one of you found it interesting or helpful… It’s my first sort of ‘opinion’ piece that I’ve ever really written/posted so its a new adventure for me to write and you to read!

Much Love x

A Year in a List

Yes, I am fully aware it is March and not the 1st of January or even the middle of January anymore, and while I am a strong believer in having a good starting point, I also believe that change and challenges can be started at any time. Hence, this list.

I was really struggling for my next blog post already until I realised a few things,

  1. I love lists
  2. I love to challenge myself
  3. There were a lot of things I wanted to do/ change in this next year

I have been punishing myself about my weight and fitness for a while, and every other day I am dreaming about adventures  or things I want to do and so, I have created a list. Between the date today (March 7th 2016) and a year from now (March 7th 2017) I aim to complete as many things on this list as possible.

It’s not a massive list, and I imagine not even very interesting to you out there – but here it is. I’ll blog about each thing as I complete it, and update this page when they are completed.

But for now here it is – let me know if you have a list which is similar, or want to share different things on yours to make me feel like I’m not the only one trying to get their shit together!

Health and Fitness:
  • Be able to run a 5K
  • Be able to run a 10K
  • Up my yoga fitness and strength
  • Master the head/hand stand
  • Complete a 30 day squat challenge
  • Be able to do 5 chin ups
  • Do a colour run
  • Complete a 30 day ab challenge

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Blogging and Social Media: 

  • Update blog at least every 3 weeks – (I know that isn’t a lot, but with uni deadlines all the time, it is more realistic)
  • Get total views to 1000 – (again, not a lot, but I am a tiny beginner blog, so any views are good views)
  • Write a blog post that gets over 20 likes
  • Blog about each thing I tick off the list

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Travel: 
  • Visit 3 different countries
  • Visit every main beach in the area I live
  • Take a spontaneous day trip to somewhere in the UK
  • Go to a Christmas market somewhere else in the UK
  • Visit winter wonderland in London
  • Visit Joe/Matt at uni

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Getting Organised/ Work/ Uni:
  • Learn to do leaves on coffees at work
  • Start learning to drive
  • Write more for the student paper
  • Have something published in the physical paper
  • Have my phone sorted and fixed  29/03/16 (I won’t blog about this as it is highly uninteresting to me and to you – but in summary it was a nightmare I wish to never repeat) 
  • Complete my first year of uni with over 60%
  • Save £2000 from working the summer

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Personal: 
  • Be up to see a sunrise in the UK
  • Be up to see the sunrise in Costa Rica
  • Do something for charity (or at least apply to)
  • Give blood
  • Read 15 books for fun – (This does not sound like a lot, but when studying for a history degree, I don’t have a lot of time to read ‘normal’ books)
  • Buy a new practical coat which I will actually wear

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Food:
  • Make my own hummus
  • Try a week being Vegan
  • Try a week being Gluten free
  • Create a book of recipes i make all in one place
  • Try proper sushi
  • No Dominos for a month – (I am a student, Dominos deliver till 5am, I drink, it’s a lot harder than it sounds)

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Much Love x

Are You Still Alive?

So it has officially been over a month since my last post ‘festive drinks’, great start right? Three posts in and I disappear for the whole of January! So this post will be a bit of a boring update for most of you about what I have been up to in the last month, and then I do actually have some more interesting posts planned, I promise.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family where I got spoilt rotten and ate so much turkey I thought I would turn into one! It was a very relaxing few days with just my mum, dad, little brother and enough food to feed an army.

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My New Years’ was equally as fun but not quite as relaxing as I worked it! When I am not studying I am a part time waitress at one of my local restaurants and we had a big party to bring us into 2016 before we shut for the winter months. I would say that it was extremely gruelling serving almost everyone in the village a drink behind the bar, but I spent most of my shift drinking myself so I really can not complain!

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(IT WAS UV THEMED SO WE HAD A LOT OF PAINT AND GLOW STICKS ON)

But all good things must come to an end, and so once my celebrations were over, it was back to revision as I had an exam on the 6th. After spending days revising my Greek philosophy module after two hours it was all over and time to get back to my lectures, which seemed far too soon, and seeing my flat mates, which felt like forever ago.

One of the things which stopped me from posting for over a month was this simple fact: After a week of lectures, I realised I had no less than thirteen essay deadlines this term, and it worked out to AT LEAST one a week. Now the prospect of this totally freaked me out for about a week and I was a total ball of stress, and to be perfectly honest I still am as the next ten weeks will be as close to hell as I will care to go, but this week I handed in my first two so only eleven more to go…

In other news, this term has also brought good things, last week my flatmates and I booked a trip to Amsterdam in June which I am SO excited for as I have been meaning to go for so long. That was quite nice to do because it made me feel like I had something right after exams to work towards and it means I get to see my flatmates for one last time before we go home for the summer.

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I have also been on a bit of a mini ‘health kick’ recently (how cliché of me), but thanks to my grandparents I now have a smoothie blender so I have been trying out lots of recipes, some sound nice, some have been described my family and friends as ‘questionable’, but I promise you they all taste amazing. Some of the girls I live with and I have also started getting our run on, by that I mean we have started this week… and I have really got back into yoga so I will keep you updated on that progress, if you do not hear anything, I am probably face deep in a pizza instead, but I have set myself a challenge to be able to do a free standing headstand so wish me luck! I have quite a few posts planned to do with food and health stuff as well as some weekly challenges I am setting myself so keep your eyes pealed… (I love how I am writing this like any more people than my dad reads this, but you have to dream).

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(MY NAN DESCRIBED THIS A ‘SLUDGE’ – IT’S ACTUALLY KALE, BANANA, AVOCADO AND MANGO)

So that is me for the last month! Very busy and very stressed with uni work but also glad to see home for a month and also back surrounded by my friends again and I guess this is my unofficial promise to try and post more regularly about interesting things rather than this waffle. But thanks for reading if you got this far, much love x

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