When Is Blue Monday 2017? How To Overcome The “Worst Day of the Year”

So, did you know that there an official “worst day of the year?” Well, there is according to some experts at least. It goes back to 2005, when Dr. Cliff Arnall calculated the most depressing day of the year.

Based on his calculations (listed below), the worst day of this year, Blue Monday, falls on Monday January 16th, 2017.

So how did Dr. Arnall figure out that this date in late January is extremely depressing? Here are his reasons:

– Post-Christmas debts are due, so our debt is the highest of the whole year
– In the northern hemisphere, weather conditions are often at their worst (gloomy, cold, and unpredictable)
– Most people have already abandoned their New Years resolutions and are back to old behaviors
– We have had time to emotionally consider that the joy of Christmas is over
– Our motivation level is low because of the cold and gloom
– We don’t have a lot to look forward to in the immediate future (very few work days off, more cold is ahead, etc)

So, theoretically, for a lot of people this is the “worst day of the year.” However, you don’t have to succumb to Blue Monday, and let me explain how to deal with each of these issues related to “Blue Monday.” Also, scroll down for a funny video about how to beat the winter blues in under 30 seconds!

Conquer Blue Monday 2017 Cold and Gloom

Even though it’s cold, try to get outside and get some sun. Bundle up and walk out that door, especially on a sunny day! Buy some thermal wicking clothes so it doesn’t feel so cold!

The Sun shining through a cloudSince your childhood, you’ve probably heard that you can “catch a cold” from going out in the winter. This sounds logical, but the scientific truth is that most winter illness is caused by being inside too much, because it leads to the spread of germs from person-to-person much easier. I run and hike on cold days frequently, and I always feel better for it. Others agree with me, so get out.

Also, there are always sunny days in January. If you can’t get outside, go to a window, close your eyes, and face the direction of the sun. The field of vision behind your eyes will glow bright red. Scientifically, this causes a release of serotonin, the brain’s happy chemical. If you can’t get light any other way, there is evidence which suggests that indoor blue lights can improve your mood.

Avoid Racking Up Debt

Many people cover for the lack of true happiness by buying a bunch of cheap crap. If buying things in December causes you to be depressed in January, then don’t buy them. Many experts suggest getting rid of things you don’t use (de-cluttering) will actually make you happier than collecting things you never have time to enjoy.

Work on your internal attitude, and you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of external things to be happy. This is basic Buddhism 101, but other religions teach simple living free of attachments as well. A lot of people find that being around others, having friends, etc, are more meaningful than material things anyway. I’m not saying you should become a monk, just that if you’re buying more than you can afford, you need to evaluate your priorities.

Find Joys In The Moment; Plan Things To Do

Sure, Christmas has passed by Blue Monday. But…you can celebrate and have fun every single day. Find something fun to do and look forward to. Plan things that give you hope. Every day (without exception) plan something to do that you like. It can be taking a drive to see beautiful snowy scenery, getting coffee with a friend, going on a hike, going to a concert…anything.

Plan a party if you have to. I suggest getting a calendar and writing some of these things down, so you have these “hopeful” things there for you to see whenever you need a reminder of why you are happy this winter.

After a past Christmas I planned to see an old college friend in February. I looked forward to it all January, and it gave me hope I otherwise didn’t have. Another fun thing I planned recently was to take work off early and meet a friend at a local restaurant. We loved seeing each other in the afternoon. We were both a little depressed about heading back to work after Christmas, but this meeting made it more bearable.

Unfortunately, society works us up in a social frenzy near Christmas, and then everything just stops. The lights, festive music, and social gatherings not only vanish, but they vanish in a mere day. Then, things get “back to normal,” which, for most people is very depressing. This is why it is important to schedule things to look forward to. It keeps us hopeful and happy. We also offer specific tips for Post Christmas depression.

Re-Boot That Resolution

I have been a member of various YMCAs for nearly fifteen years. I’ve seen people go “all out” on January 1st, to stop everything by January 15th. In reality, something more realistic is in order. Instead of going crazy on January 1st, only to burn out two weeks later, try coming up with something more sustainable.

Also, understand that it is never too late to get back on track. If you’ve given up on your resolution, then get back today. Make a mid-winter resolution. Make a new month resolution. Call it whatever. I strongly live by the principal that “there is no failure, just feedback,” if you have the right attitude. Let your early January setbacks help you create new goals and actions starting in mid-January. And, stick with them the whole year!

Overall, the basic message here is that “Blue Monday,” the “worst day of the year” is only blue and horrible if you allow it to be. The pitfalls I’ve listed don’t have to be your reality. Besides, blue is my favorite color. Have a happy Blue Monday 2017!

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A New Year’s Reminder: Every Day Is A New Day

2017 is just a few days away, and people are already focusing on New Year’s goals and resolutions, and sadly, struggling to keep those goals.

Last night I was visiting my parents and ended up overeating. I ate a lot: two hamburgers, peanut butter, microwave popcorn, and some candy bars. Instead of using their weights, which I had thought I would do, I sat around and watched TV. It was me going back to an old pattern I had when I lived with them, before I had lost 20 pounds and gotten in shape. As I went to bed, I wasn’t very happy with myself.

But then I woke up, and as part of my morning meditation (from Chanting From The Heart) I was reminded:

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion

This is a reminder that every day is new. Every moment is new. And this is important to remember when you are setting goals and resolutions and fail to stick with them.

The past is a collection of memories, experiences, and emotions. While I am not downplaying the difficulty of dealing with problems in the past, the past doesn’t exist. The “failure” to  eat right yesterday. When you checked out your toxic ex’s profile a few days ago. When you were too busy to go to the gym. Those are now memories clouding your ability to do the best right now – today.

No matter what you did yesterday, or even ten minutes ago, the now belongs to you, the best you. So get back on the track you want. Think of this whenever you reach the end of a day you feel like you didn’t reach your goals. The next moment is always yours.

Holiday Loneliness: How to Beat It

yard with snowIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right?

Or, at least that’s what the song tells us. But, it’s not just music giving us this message. The entire holiday season, from Christmas through the New Year is supposedly one of festivity, joy, family, and friendships. Popular culture is pretty clear on this, and for many people, the holidays are a joyful time.

However, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Holiday loneliness is real for many men and women. And, it’s made far worse by the expectations of happiness throughout the Christmas season. If you don’t wear a smile you’re considered a scrooge or a downer.

Why is holiday loneliness so real? Christmas is a time that many people are reminded of the gaps in their lives. The expectations of a tight-knit family, opportunities to socialize, general talk of “joy,” contrast with most people’s lives which are lacking in these areas. These things don’t magically appear simply because December rolls around, and some people are reminded of the gap between what they would like and what they actually have.

However, you don’t have to be lonely over the holidays. You can take the initiative and find more joy and meaning this Christmas season. Here’s how to beat holiday loneliness.

Note, for those with serious depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues, make sure to consult with a professional. These tips are for those who are lonely.

Create Social Opportunities

Many people who are lonely at the holidays lack family and friends to celebrate with. They might be unemployed or feel isolated too. They don’t have access to family functions and parties throughout Christmastime.

However, that doesn’t mean a person has to be lonely. Many of these people feel depressed because they wait for others to invite them to events. But, without social networks they end up never getting invited. But, instead of waiting around, find or create your own events.

Look for organizations that offer public Christmas parties. Churches, social and community organizations, and even bars will have Christmas parties open to the public. Show up, have a good time and meet some new people.

Even better, throw your own party. Invite family, friends, and co-workers. This gives you the advantage of being the one in charge. You’ll likely impress people (especially if you do it well) and build deeper friendships with others throughout the rest of the year.

Get A Life

While holiday loneliness has different roots for different people (like a loss of a loved one), in many cases, men and women are lonely at the holidays because they dislike their lives the rest of the year. As I previously mentioned, the happiness of others simply magnifies their already existing feelings of loneliness.

The solution is to actually get a life. I don’t mean that to be negative, just realistic. If a person is crushingly lonely at Christmas, it’s because he or she isn’t making friends, getting dates, and bonding with family throughout the rest of the year.

So, find ways to meet friends, go on dates, and build rapport with others. People are busy at the holidays, so it can be frustrating to start now. But, don’t let the opportunities slip away once the new year passes.

Yes, it isn’t as simple as “make friends.” However, think of all the effort you may spend on various hobbies, like following a sports team or commenting on Reddit. Imagine putting some of that energy into meeting new people and learning social skills related to that. It may be a great new year’s goal worth looking into. Fortunately, we have several books that can help men and women make friends and get dates.

Set Those Resolutions Early

Finally, the best way to beat loneliness? Better yourself and have some traits that would make others want to be around you. Popular people often have the opposite problem of holiday loneliness; they want down time.

Don’t wait until January 1st to start bettering yourself. Set goals right now and work towards them. Lose weight, get fit, start a business, take up an instrument, etc. Find a way to make yourself more attractive (in the general and romantic sense) so that you will never have to face another Christmas alone.

Write down your goals and steps to achieve them. Keep them simple and achievable (like “lose 5 pounds by the end of January” versus “lose 100 pounds”). Then, keep adding more goals after you achieve these.

Personal change is a process, but if you start now, then next Christmas you’ll be hoping for relaxation time, not sitting around moaning about being lonely over the holidays.

Why An Ugly Christmas Sweater Is A Great Way To Meet People

When I was growing up, the only people who wore ugly Christmas sweaters did so with a straight face. I even bought one for my grandma when I was in seventh grade, aware that it was ugly, but also aware that it was the kind she wore unironically.

Now, ugly Christmas sweaters are ironically worn for laughs. This is why they are a great way to draw attention to yourself and meet new people througout the holiday season.

Let’s be honest: most people are boring. A lot of guys will whine about “women not liking ‘nice’ guys.” What they really should say is, “women, like all people, don’t want to date boring guys.” And, most guys are very bland and boring.

The part of our brain that notices things (the reticular activating system) filters out boring people and events. It is the mechanism by which our brain avoids getting overloaded by filtering out things that are familiar.

So, one way to get someone’s attention is to do something that stands out, which will activate your RAS. Let me give you an example.

Do you remember any of the cars you saw going to work today? Probably not, unless, of course, one stuck out. Some may have stuck out in a negative way, if it was making loud noises or its muffler was scraping the ground. Others may have stood out positively, like if you saw a brand new red Lamborghini driving beside you.

If you want to be socially successful you have to stand out in a way that is positive, and a funny Christmas sweater is a great way to do that. It is an instant way to show your intelligence and humor, and if you are physically fit, it is even better.

Not only will you get positive attention, a lot of people will say they like it and talk to you simply on that basis. A lot of women will as well!

Plus, there are even a lot of “Ugly Christmas Sweater” parties out there. Look around locally because a lot of bars and restaurants are having them.

Who knew a Christmas sweater could be such an easy way to meet people?

Click here for a huge selection at Amazon.com

Three Halloween Costumes That Women Find Irresistible

vampire costume from behind

Image courtesy of Anusorn P nachol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Halloween is a great time for guys to not only be social and meet new people but also demonstrate their wit, humor, and confidence through a costume. Halloween is one of the few times (maybe the only time) that adults can express their personalities in such an attention-getting way and still be socially acceptable.

Some Halloween costumes increase your attractiveness, and make women want to get to know you more. Some stand out in a positive way and are a great way to start conversations. It is a great way to meet new people, including friends and potential date interests.

Below are some of the best costumes for guys (if you need a costume, check out the cool selection at Amazon).

Authority Figures

It never hurts to go as an authority figure of some type. Sometimes you’ll actually be admired and considered attractive even though everyone clearly knows it’s a costume. Uniforms make a guy look really attractive to women. The authority figure costumes can include being a cop, a Roman emperor, a firefighter, a judge, a soldier, etc. You can even be creative if that involves power and authority. Going as Donald Trump would fit this, and may be just controversial and funny enough to get plenty of attention, especially given this election season.

Bonus points: Get into your role by “arresting people,” making Caesaresque pronouncements, etc. Just don’t get too into it that you’re the one getting hauled off to the slammer.

Bad Boys

Women do have a certain fondness for bad boys. Even if they’d never date them, there’s definitely an allure. Just like they enjoying watching the bad boy on the TV, if you can dress up as a bad boy or villain, you’ll get those feelings going for you, even if you’re really a pretty good guy.

Halloween is the time to let loose and show your bad side (in a safe and non-threatening way). Bad boy costumes include convicts, vampires, pimps, movie villains (like the Joker), etc.

Bonus points: Be scary and bad in your role. But, don’t go full creepy. No one likes that.

The Funny, Creative, Or Outrageous

These are high risk, high reward ventures. If you can pull off something unique, fun, and creative and everyone gets it and appreciates it, you are the man. However, if it falls flat, is too obscure, too girly, or even creepy, then you’ll look like a tool or “one of the girls.”  So, do this very carefully, especially if you think you might piss off people too much or be the one laughed at (rather than with). If that’s the case, don’t do it.

Bonus points: You pick something that makes the ladies want to pose with you for pictures.

So, here are a few great Halloween costume ideas for guys. Pick carefully. It’ll help your social life if you choose the best Halloween costume.

Haunted Hoochie Haunted House Review

hoochie1Last night Jonathan and I went to the Haunted Hoochie, a popular haunted house attraction near Columbus, Ohio. Since the tickets are $25 (VIP $45), I was really hoping it would be an amazing haunted house experience…and let me just say…it definitely was!

We arrived early…very early, especially for a Thursday apparently. We were literally the first non-employees there when we got there about 7:00 PM. Since it started at 8:30 we figured there would already be a long line. I am guessing on weekends and as Halloween approaches, arriving as early as we did would be a plus. Once we parked ($3.00 cash) we walked toward the actual event.

There are plenty of port-a-potties in front of the venue, which is a plus. There are also concessions in that general area as well. After that, we walked to the ticket barn and waited for the tickets to open. We each bought regular tickets. They accept cash and credit card.

hoochie2After we got tickets, we got in line for the haunted house. We were near the front. A few people came dressed in costumes, and various haunted house actors walked around scaring people. Warning: they will touch you (appropriately) and say crass things. Of course, that is part of the fun and everybody seemed to enjoy it. A sign as you enter does warn you that if you’re a politically correct asshole, don’t bother buying a ticket. Hopefully that sorted out a few potential whiny buzzkills.

About a half hour before it started, the place started broadcasting music videos. Most of them seemed to relate to 9-11 truth movement and anarchist type themes, such as the more obviously conspiratorial “The Cause Of Death” by Immortal Technique and more mainstream ones like “American Idiot” by Green Day. Since I have a pretty strong libertarian streak I could appreciate it, but I am sure some people were offended.

hoochie3Around 8:30, things lit up a little more, a half-naked woman came out into a cage like thing near the top of the haunted house, and started dancing. That is around when they started letting people in.

They stagger people in by small groups, by letting a group of VIP people in (people who basically pay extra to get into a shorter line) along with those of us in the regular line. It does take awhile, but it is worth it to get the full experience.

I am not going to give away everything, but I will say that the haunted house is brutally graphic. Beheadings, human sacrifice, and even portrayal of war and a plane crash. You walk through a variety of super scary and gory scenarios throughout the house. They include a war zone (Vietnam it seemed like), a sort of Satanic equivalent of the Catholic Church complete with a twisted pope, a crashed plane, an execution, and more.

There are so many hidden people throughout the house grabbing you, that you will at least get surprised a couple of times, even if you are like me and pretty much difficult to surprise. One of the actors was telling me before hand that people peeing their pants is pretty common.

hoochie4They make use of darkness, strobe lights, and lots of cool animatronic creatures (including huge dinosaurs). And there are loads of actors grabbing you, (pretend) cutting you with chainsaws, and yelling at you.

The gore and scariness level are off the chart, I promise you. If you are scared easily, you’ll either love this or hate it. I suggest staying close to your group, because it is dark and a little easy to get separated if you’re not careful (at least it seemed like a possibility to me).

Guys, I suggest going with a girlfriend or significant other, because her first reaction will be to hold onto you. I am sure it would be much more fun that way.

It lasts quite a while. They do a great job of pacing you, by stopping you to watch a few of the scenarios.

When you’re done, they give you a pair of 3D glasses and you can walk through the “Bad Trip in 3D.” It is really cool. I am not sure how they did it, but as you walk everything is in bright and colorful 3D. Even the floor has specs of color that hover in the air. That lasts about ten minutes and is really freaky and has to be seen to be believed. It is a nice addition and makes it definitely worth the 25 dollars.

I promise you, if you love haunted attractions, especially getting scared and lots of cool scenarios and props, you will love this. I have never experienced anything like it in my life and I loved every second of it.

The only main drawbacks to the experience are the price (it is still high compared to many other haunted attractions) and the long lines, which formed behind us as the night progressed. But, that can be part of the fun, because you’ll be able to interact with actors and other people excited about going to a haunted house (see our article How To Meet Girls At Haunted Houses for more information on that).