Blue Monday: Embrace The Blues In North London

Written by: Sophie Taylor

The formula published to explain why Blue Monday exists makes little to no mathematical sense. It looks pretty though.

Apparently the date was originally devised by a travel company using weather conditions, rising debt levels, time passed since failing our resolutions and decreasing motivation levels. According to their research, the third Monday of January is when most people start looking into booking holidays. 

North Four, North London magazine, Blue Monday, depression, bench, lonely, time alone

I know I’ve popped a few plane tickets in shopping baskets online, irrespective of my bank statement / time off.

But what if, instead of forcing further debt on ourselves with a holiday and wishing the whole of Winter away, we embrace these blues? Travel doesn’t magically make you happy.

Often we feel depressed as a result of circumstance. Sometimes it’s a hormonal imbalance. At other times it’s a more permanent illness that we have to live with and learn how to cope. And it sucks.

But we’re not alone.

Whether we go out, stay in, drink or stay sober, here’s how we’re going to shun a travel agent ad campaign and be miserable right here in North London. 

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Be wet

You don’t have to go dry. Unless you really want to do it yourself, enforced sobriety usually ends down the pub in shitfaced defiance.

Screw you dry January! You rasp, downing another shot of wine, alone. Then along comes the sober light of day again bringing his friends: Mr Crushing Paranoia and Ms List of Neglected Responsibilities.

If you like a pint on a cold Winter’s day, have a pint. If you fancy spending the afternoon in new craft beer shop on Stroud Green Road, do it. Equally, if you feel it’s time to give the booze a break, go for it. Find strength in numbers and join the January wagoners or be a maverick and start next month.

It’s up to you, not a hashtag or preachy online article. Ahem.

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Get wet

Have some sex. What! You cry. If only it were that easy! Or, What awful advice, you frown, sex doesn’t solve everything! 

No, it doesn’t, but it does happen to withhold a plethora of health benefits that can help boost your energy levels, immune system and mood, both temporarily and long term. Check in with yourself emotionally of course and make sure you’re both (or all) on the same page and no one’s getting hurt. 

While a slutty rampage through North London may not be the answer, a session of quality love making with someone you fancy the proverbial pants off can do wonders for your self esteem, stress / anxiety levels and even sleep patterns, ironically. Of course, some anti depressants and depression itself can lower (completely crush) libido. The underlying issues need to be tackled first. Read this handy article for a few ways to get in touch with yourself first. 

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Eat well

Whether it’s to decrease your midriff or make you feel less deflated, nutrition is your best friend. Well that’s what Instagram says. Already switched off? I know the feeling, but even the act of ‘making the effort’ can improve your mood for a bit.

Getting out, choosing some extra ugly chunks of ginger and squashy avocado, chopping them to bits and blending up a disgusting green concoction can.. well, it can be pretty vomit inducing actually, but there are more hearty and tasty recipes out there. Have a look at our yoga buddy, Kate Oate’s blog and insta for immune boosting recipes or peruse London based nutritionalist, Christina Moi’s healthy Asian inspired recipes. 

CBA cooking? Try our top suggestions for vegetarian food in your area. I enjoy fannying around Mother Earth health shop on Highbury Corner and imagine the nourishingly beautiful creations I’d knock up if I could be bothered. Then proceed to blow my monthly food budget on one slice of organic cheesecake. It’s good for me, alright?

North Four, North London magazine, blue monday, depression, food, recipes, treat yourself

Eat shit

That pizza you felt so bad about isn’t going to ruin your life. Ordering takeaway every day might not help, but allowing yourself a bit of what you fancy does your sense of wellbeing a world of good.

Have a look at local, Olivia Potts’ food blog for inspiration and wonderfully fatty recipes. After deciding being a Barrister wasn’t for her, Livvy realised her love for cookery. When her mum died in 2014 she found it surprisingly therapeutic to start baking and then, to write about it. She soon became a food writer for the Spectator and is currently gaining a patisserie qualification from Le Cordon Bleu, no less.

Her pinned tweet and life ethos reads, ‘NOT ? EATING ? CERTAIN ? FOODS ? DOES ? NOT ?MAKE ? YOU ? A ? BETTER ? PERSON’ which is fabulously dramatic and true.

Read through her recipes and get lost in her life stories whilst you’re there. You’ll find a heart warming tale of finding love via Twitter as well. 

North Four, North London magazine, blue monday, depression, stoke newington, dogs, park

Go out

I don’t necessarily mean out out. Usually the last thing you want to do is venture outside when you feel like a limitless grey blob. But it’s funny what a tiny bit of oxygen can do. 

So before you go ordering an expensive canister from eBay, get a hit of the stuff in Clissold Park. Look at all the dogs and get jealous at their carefree existence. Call someone. Breathe. Lie on the grass, get scratchy and wonder why you came outside in the first place. Have a stretch. Power walk back to your home comforts. Grab a coffee on the way from Sapid. You don’t have to fill your days with achievements and big social outings.

Hungover on top of everything else? Find our top four places to embrace it in North London. 

North Four, North London magazine, Blue Monday, depression, pizza, takeaway

Stay in

Make plans. Cancel them. Get an injection of dopamine when you do. Feel guilty for a bit. Beat yourself up over not making the effort. Watch a boxset of crap and forget about yourself. Catch yourself in one of the characters and feel a punch in your stomach as you’re reminded about all your problems and flaws. Pull the duvet in, order a pizza, eat your feelings, feel good for a second, feel fat the next, throw the box at the wall. Promise yourself you’ll go for a run tomorrow. Lay out your trainers with a line up of all your best intentions.

It’s a cycle we know well. Don’t punish yourself for not going out in the first place. Let people know you’re being a hermit and that it’s not personal. Cook some nice food, watch a good film you’ve been meaning to see, record that ridiculous guitar solo. Make the most of hermit time and treat yourself well. 

This too shall pass bitches. We’ve got this.

Feel like you haven’t got this? Try these self care tips from Mind or have a look at these support groups suggestions from the NHS.

Photos by Mike Barry and via A Half Baked Idea.

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