We give ourselves New Year’s resolutions and sadly, most of us fail by now. This is due to them being unachievable and unrealistic, but it’s that sense of failure that makes us feel a bit sh**y. It’s also the longest break between pay days as most of us get paid just before Christmas.
That leaves us waiting until the very end of the month in January to be paid again; for some it’s six whole weeks! To top it off, the coldest part of Winter is imminent, but we no longer feel cosy and Christmassy about it; it’s just all runny noses and slipping on the ice.
Why do we feel dismal on this day in particular? This is down to a combination of factors that sadly hit us all at once, around about now (ugh).
Every year, the third Monday in January has been branded “Blue Monday”. It’s the day of the year when people are most-likely to suffer from depression and/or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
When we all have runny noses, limited money in the bank and extra festive blubber, where do we spend most of our time? At home! January is the month of staying in. Your home should be your haven and with a few simple home decor changes, you could improve your mental well-being, lift your spirits and be ready to face February with a renewed spark of positivity.
CREATE SOME COSINESS
By adding a mixture of new textures into your home with soft furnishings can help the mind relax, especially after a busy day in the office. You could add some fluffy cushions to your bed or sofa, put an extra blanket in all your Netflix-binging hotspots, place a thick rug by your bed so it’s the first thing your feet touch in the morning. These little changes can help sooth feelings of restlessness, which in turn will give you a better night sleep. A weighted blanket is great to help with depression, anxiety and insomnia.
If your home is currently a green-free zone, then you really need to dash to your nearest garden centre. According to RHS, houseplants improve psychological human health by reducing stress levels, increasing productivity, improving attention span, increasing pain tolerance and improving mood. There are also some physical benefits such as reduced blood pressure and reduced fatigue. By all means, don’t turn your living room into a condensed Amazon Rainforest, just bring in a few leafy greens whether they’re real or artificial and you’ll be able to feel the results.
Indeed, Victoria Evans of Decorum Interior Design, agrees. “There is honestly nothing better for you than connecting your home with the outside,” she told GLAMOUR. “Not only does it look aesthetically-pleasing, but it also has many benefits such as boosting energy and encouraging peace and calmness in your life.
“There is nothing better than a bit of greenery to add some texture, dimension and life to a room as well as a splash of colour. Plants are a definite must-have for any room because they quite literally add life to a space, and make any room look more lived-in.
“Whether you go all out or add just a small decoration of natural accessories to your home, we can assure you that you will notice an improvement to your mood.”
FILL THE AIR WITH FRAGRANCE
Aromatherapy is probably the easiest way to improve mood in the home, for you and anyone else there. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years as remedies for all types of health issues. To name a few: lavender oil reduces stress, rose oil eases tension, ylang ylang oil boosts emotional wellbeing and jasmine oil reduces anxiety symptoms. Special mixtures of these in your home can instantly ease any blue feelings. You can buy individual oils and add them to bath water or spray on your pillow or you can buy pre-mixed products that are like candles, diffusers and room sprays.
“It’s a known fact that a flickering candle helps to reduce stress and help others achieve a meditative state,” explains Victoria. “The gentle, mesmerising flame creates a warm atmosphere – reducing stress and increasing self-awareness. When you look at the light that comes off a candle, it is captured and sent straight to your brain for processing where the body begins to relax and feel calmer, helping how we feel emotionally and physically.
“Additionally, scented candles offer a plethora of advantages. We all have our trigger scents; scents that make us feel positive and scents that remind us of negative times and situations. By choosing a scent we find relaxing, or a scent known for its calming properties, we can help our mental state by triggering ourselves of good times.”
As we all know artificial blue light from our devices can interfere with sleep and stress. According to Sleep.org blue lights are the worst for your mood (white lights aren’t far behind), but red bulbs are a different story. Warmer lights don’t have the same negative effects on your health as white and blue lights do.
If you opt for warmer bulbs and dimmer lights it can be much easier to relax, switching your phone’s blue light filter off after sunset can also help. Using a therapy light as your alarm can be key if you suffer from SAD and find it difficult to get out of bed. They mimic a sunrise to wake you up naturally with light. According to Lumie this has been shown to improve mood, energy levels and quality of sleep.
CUT THE CLUTTER
Messy house, messy mind. Clutter in the home can have a huge negative effect on their mental health, especially those with OCD. You could be suffering with low feelings this time of year due to the excess clutter in your home without even realising that’s a cause. Gather all the clutter in your home, that’s anything left on ‘the chair’, piles of paperwork, or just ‘bits and bobs’ that don’t have a home and create a permanent place for them. Or, as Marie Kondo says: if it doesn’t spark joy, throw it out. There’s so many innovative storage solutions around, but rattan boxes are a chic way of hiding clutter in plain sight. If your home and mind is clear, you open ourselves to new challenges and take on new emotions leaving the blues locked-out.
“As obvious as it may seem, we are all guilty of gathering some sort of chaotic mess in our homes,” adds Victoria. “If you’re a fan of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, you will be well aware of how satisfying tidying up can be. Mess can completely stop us from having a clear mind and therefore lead to stress and agitation, as well as creating the illusion of a smaller, more confined room. So, ensuring your room feels as spacious and airy as possible will help with relaxation and happiness.
“Tackling it before it begins to build up by having a structure in place such as storage will help you feel far less drained and rather more productive.”