So we survived Blue Monday, the mythical “most depressing day of the year”.
This was the day that everything turned around for me, and I tried to pass these ideas on to my students in my classes that day, and today I will share them with you.
As ever I am reminded of what is important, of my beliefs, through my life experiences.
It had been a mentally and physically challenging time the last couple of months as I had been struck down with an illness, which it transpires was more serious than I thought. (Lesson One of 2017: sometimes a positive attitude is not enough to overcome certain conditions, sometimes we need to ask for help).
You’ll know if you read my column last week that I’d embarked on the Cold Water Therapy challenge, which, it transpired, was not going to be a good idea whilst I was trying to recover from illness. I had to accept that the time was not right for it, and to be ok about putting something “on hold”. This was hard to accept, as I felt like one of these people who embarked on strict regimes as part of a New Year’s resolutions, and when they failed, felt a debilitating sense of guilt.
Guilt and shame, it would appear, are major factors in low mood and depression. That feeling that we aren’t “good enough” just the way we are is compounded around this time of year, as we suffer the after-math of over-indulgence and perhaps failed re-invention plans.
So many of my students came back after the New Year saying they “felt fat”, or “lazy”, and it made me think about how hard we are on ourselves. We no doubt enjoyed kicking back and relaxing a bit, and the new layer of fat we acquired over Christmas may just well have been what we needed for some extra warmth in winter.
The only downside is our response to it. We give ourselves a hard time. We go all out on a mission to punish ourselves for what we did, and this just does more damage.
In my classes on Blue Monday, I decided to choose the theme of “Happy Monday” – a total reframe of the day, in an attempt to change the mood around it. I encouraged people to consider being kind to their bodies – to “nourish not punish”, and watch their thoughts and statements towards themselves.
Just like starting the day calling it “Blue Monday” will only increase the chances of it being a dark and miserable day, when we tell ourselves we are fat and ugly, we tend to act in a way that supports that belief and therefore manifest that exact thing that we don’t want.
Watch how everything changes when you start telling yourself that you love your body, you love yourself, just the way you are, that you are “enough”. Our whole mindset changes, and as a result we change the way our day goes. When we feel good about ourselves, we are more motivated, we tend to treat ourselves better, and therefore we get the results we wanted in the first place.
It’s time to stop this guilt and shame, choose more positive emotions, and perhaps while things are difficult, we just take it a little easier on ourselves.
For me, I am choosing to take the positive aspects out of what I was doing with the cold water challenge and incorporate them into my day. Morning rituals I know work fantastically well, and I would highly recommend that you find your own.
So with the words “nourish don’t punish” in my head, I decide on what I will do each morning to “set myself up for a good day”. I make my hot water and lemon and go back to bed to listen to some motivational messages. My favourite at the moment is Abraham Hicks’ “Listen This Every Morning in 2017 For A New Life”. I really feel motivated afterwards and in a positive frame of mind. It’s free on YouTube as many great resources are.
I then do a bit of yoga or foam rolling, just a short session to open my body up and get the energy flowing. I have my shot of greens and a Bulletproof coffee and I’m good to go. If I’m not teaching I get in a 30 minute walk outside, and then I have breakfast, a big one at that, full of stuff I love.
I don’t feel bad now. This is enough of a challenge. This feels good for me. I may tackle the cold water challenge again soon when I’m feeling stronger, but for now this is “enough”, I feel that I am “enough”, and that makes me happier than anything.