According to some statisticians, today is ‘Blue Monday,’ the most depressing day of the year.The date is supposedly calculated each year with an equation using many variables, including: weather conditions, financial stresses, time since Christmas, failed new year’s resolutions and low motivational levels.

The concept was created by a British PR company in 2005, but since then the trend has really caught on, leaving many people dreading this date. But fear not, because there are some things that you can do to make your Blue Monday a little bit more bearable.

The first step is taking control. You have the power to decide whether today will be sad and depressing or whether it will be a positive experience. If you go about your day with a bad mental attitude you will look out for the bad moments and might overlook the rays of sunshine that are cast on your day.

With that in mind, here are 5 things you can actively do to improve your mood today.

1 Make the most of the light.



It’s difficult to get natural light in winter, as most of us are spending the days indoors and making the journey to and from work in the dark. UV rays from the sun help stabilize serotonin and triggers the release of endorphins. both of these are mood-boosting hormones. If you can get outside for at least 10-20 minutes today (I know it is cold but stick with me!) this should have a noticeable positive effect on your mood.

2 Eat right!


There are lots of foods which are also naturally rich in serotonin. Walnuts, kiwis, bananas, cherries, pineapple, tomatoes, and plums are just a few of these. Tryptophan is something else to look out for, it’s an essential amino acid that naturally enhances your state of mind. It’s found in proteins such as turkey, fish, chicken, cottage cheese, nuts, cheese, eggs, and beans.

3 Do something different!


Sometimes being down in the dumps is just a state of mind. Make the effort to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Take a day off from work and go explore a town nearby. Go to that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for dinner. Take a different route to work or wear something that’s out of your comfort zone! You’d be surprised how something so small can make such a big effect.

4 Spend time with a furry friend.



Studies have shown that when non-pet owners played with a dog for just a few minutes a day the blood levels serotonin and oxytocin increased significantly. Here in Prague it’s hard to believe there are many people who don’t own a dog but if you don’t, try petting a neighbor’s or a friends dog and see for yourself the difference it can make.

5 Drink coffee!


Leaving the easiest method till last. If you are looking for a quick fix to improve your mood look no further than a cup of tea or coffee. According to Edward J. Cumella, Ph.D., director of research and education for a number of treatment centers in Arizona, a regular, modest caffeine intake can decrease the risk of depression by more than 50 percent.