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You've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Blue Monday? Typically falling on the third Monday in January, it's often called "the most depressing day of the year." While the year is still in its infancy at that point, there's a great deal you can do to fight off those seasonal blues.

What Makes This Monday Blue?

There are many different elements at play when it comes to Blue Monday. By mid-January, most people are starting to receive their credit card bills from holiday spending sprees. The ensuing accumulation of debt, coupled with pressure to keep those resolutions made for the new year, can often combine to make people feel "down in the dumps." When you factor in the cloudy, cold, and dreary weather that much of the country will battle in January, it's easy to see how Blue Monday might be called the most depressing day of the year by many people.

Banish the Blue Monday Blues

If you are prone to any type of depression, take note of the following techniques to help fight it this Blue Monday, as well as any other day you might feel blue:

  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes: You've probably heard of the endorphin high that people get when they exercise. Instead of it being a singular rush of happy feelings that dissipate quickly, researchers have found that 20 minutes of exercise provides you with subtle -- but long-lasting -- benefits that can be felt for 12 hours after you finish working out.
  • Laugh, even if you have to fake it: The human body loves laughter and rewards you when you do it. Your body relaxes and your bloodstream is flooded with endorphins. Even if you can't find anything to laugh about on Blue Monday, fake it! Even when you fake a laugh, your body can't tell the difference so it still delivers all those feel-good benefits.
  • Put on your headphones: Listening to upbeat music -- via headphones or earbuds if you need to respect others around you -- has been proven to make people happier. While you might find that your spirits are lifted listening to any kind of music, researchers found that study participants reported feeling happier when they chose more upbeat tunes.

Being aware of the combination of factors that can influence your mood on Blue Monday -- and any day -- means you can be ready to combat its effects, and help those around you to do the same. Use the above strategies anytime you're feeling down, they don't just apply to January!

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