How to use exercise to fuel a year of happiness, not just to beat “Blue Monday”

Article by Anna Cousins, online personal trainer

woman stretching before exercise, workoutOnline personal trainer, Anna Cousins, has helped over six-thousand people maintain a fitness routine in lockdown.

Now she reveals her secrets of how to use exercise to beat Blue Monday and set yourself up for a year of health happiness.

Back in 2004, a psychologist was asked to come up with a “scientific formula” for the January blues for a marketing campaign. The result? “Blue Monday”, also known as the most depressing day of the year.

January can be a tough month, so it makes sense; most people are dealing with the aftermath of the festive season and feeling a harsh kick back to reality, with the warmth of summer seeming like a million miles away.

But unlike previous years, the challenges of 2020 are set to bring an intensity to this January like no other, heightening the already existing uncertainty a new year can bring.

Whilst Blue Monday does provoke positive conversation around anxiety and depression, labelling a day can also be damaging for those people who are already dealing with mental health issues, or those feeling the weight of the year gone by.

However, leading online personal trainer, Anna Cousins, tells us that interweaving exercise and movement into your daily routine can be a powerful coping mechanism to not just to conquer “Blue Monday” and carry you through January, but to help your mind and body flourish all year round.

Anna shares five tips on how to use movement and exercise to beat “Blue Monday” and set yourself up for a year of health happiness:

  1. Create a happy movement space
    Set aside a space that you can associate with working out. Ensure it is somewhere you feel comfortable and you enjoy entering. Light candles for a Pilates and stretch practice or meditation or put up-beat music on for a HIIT workout. Preparation is key, so ensure that any equipment you may want to use, such as weights, an exercise mat, or a chair, are in place and ready to use. If at all possible, ensure you always use the same space for working out so you can associate it with your fitness routine.

  2. Structure your workout
    Just as you would with a meeting or an appointment, schedule time in your diary for exercise and movement. The key is to ensure you can sustain your exercise, so little and often may be the secret sauce of success for you. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to fall at the start or end of your day; try a mid-morning or lunchtime workout as this may feel better for your mind and body. Workout whenever you want, wherever you want, but most importantly embrace it.
  3. Eat for the mind and body
    I always say abs are made in the kitchen, not on the gym mat and healthy eating habits for wellbeing are no different. Couple your home workouts with a first-class nutrition plan geared towards your personal goal. Nourishing your body both inside and out will help improve your overall fitness.
  4. Find a cheerleader
    Partnering with a friend or joining a group exercise class is one of the most effective ways to maintain a routine. Find someone who you can work out with remotely, a friend who’ll be at the other end of the phone or join a community of likeminded people who are on a similar mission to you. Your exercise buddies will be there to give you a boost when you need it most.

  5. Focus on your own journey
    Comparison is rarely helpful, particularly when it comes to exercise. Everyone has a different mind and body, and the goals you set should reflect where you are. Trying to achieve someone else’s goals, rather than your own could leave you feeling deflated and like a failure. If you have a tenancy to compare yourself to others, avoid scrolling through social media and try to be present on your own health journey.

It may take more effort to get yourself up and moving instead of staying in a warm bed, but the beauty is knowing you will be a more resilient person because of it. January may be dubbed the bluest month of the year, but a new year is also a time to make a change for the better. Nourish yourself with exercise and you’ll find the strength to move past Blue Monday and into the rest of the year with improved physical and mental health and a far happier mindset.

About the author

Anna Cousins is an online personal trainer, offering individual PT workout sessions and a wealth of different live group sessions. Anna is a level 4 qualified personal trainer as well as a nutrition and weight management coach. Online sessions range from HIIT, boxercise, dance, Pilates, resistance bands, stretching, kettlebells and much more so there is something for everyone. Whatever the session, Anna offers a truly fun and enjoyable workout which is totally achievable at home.


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