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The third Monday in January aka Blue Monday. Originally conceived by university lecturer Dr.Cliff Arnall in 2005, Blue Monday is thought of as the worst, most depressing day of the year. Arnall determined through a series of pseudo-scientific calculations, that cold, unpredictable weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, coupled with post-Christmas holiday debt and lack of motivation would make people the most depressed by the middle of January. The gloomy nature of the date is made worse by the anticipation of upcoming vacation time, following the end of the Christmas holidays. For a lot of people, all this creates a longing for springtime. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to combat these winter blues.
Watch Out For “Seasonal Affective Disorder”
Seasonal Affective Disorder has been known to occur at the beginning of the winter season. When the weather shifts and the days get shorter, our moods can also change, becoming dreary as we’re exposed to less sunlight. Like a plant, a lack of sunlight can cause the average human to lose energy and motivation. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, this disorder can affect up to 10% of Canadians and can last anywhere from late autumn to the spring.
Ironically, one cure for the winter blues can be to spend time outside during the day. Even when it’s cold out, exercising outdoors instead of indoors has many health benefits. For example, you’ll be less likely to get sick. A common misconception is that you get sick easily from being outside too long. Actually, being inside too often, especially when you work or go to school around other people, exposes you to more germs. Increasing the amount of physical activity you do in general will make you feel better. Some people even go so far as to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder using “light therapy,” which involves sitting near fluorescent lights with a brightness of 10,000 Lux, for 20-30 minutes every day. Sunny days in the dead of winter can also be bitterly cold. In this case, studies have shown that even being near a window, and letting the sunlight shine on your face can help relieve a bit of unwanted gloom.
For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder check out this article from CBC News.
Don’t Give Up On Your Resolutions
One of the other factors in the calculations of Blue Monday is people’s lack of follow-through on their New Year’s Resolutions. It happens to the best of us. We start January with the gumption to go out and lose weight, eat healthier, and save money. A few weeks later, however, with seasonal debt and miserable weather, most people have given up completely. One way of fighting the effects of Blue Monday is to stick to these resolutions. Inside of throwing all your time and energy into the three weeks following the start of the New Year, spread your goals out, and accomplish them a little bit at a time. If going to the gym every day is a pain, then just go a couple of times per week, and focus the rest of your time on working, paying off your holiday debt, and saving up money so that you can afford to take time off in the summer months.
To read more about the Loans Canada Team’s New Year’s Resolutions, click here.
Cheer Up, Buttercup!
Now while we do admit that Blue Monday could potentially have some truth to it, we think that a positive outlook on the matter can bring you the remedy that you’re looking for.
We’re not saying we can bring back Christmas or control the weather, but we do think that some financial changes could give you that little boost of positivity that you’re after.
Dealing With Your Holiday Debt
Like in most cases, paying off your debt after the holidays is one of the most important parts of maintaining a solid financial state for the upcoming year. With tax season fast approaching, it’s a good idea to get all your finances in order as soon as possible. Depending on how many people you had to buy gifts for at Christmas, you might have racked up a sizable credit card bill. In the winter, your expenses will probably not just include gifts either. If you live in a house, you may have a large heating bill to deal with, not to mention the cost of snow removal. Many other little things can stack up on you without you noticing, like winter tires, rust-proofing for your car, and new winter clothing.
Getting Out Of Debt
So maybe getting out isn’t something that you can accomplish overnight, but it’s still vital to your financial health that you get on track. The key here is finding the right debt pay-down strategy, and you have many options available to you.
Debt Consolidation Loans: you can obtain a debt consolidation loan and this will help you lower the costs of your debt and pay them down faster. It’s a simple process, basically what you try to do is swap your high-interest debt accounts with one, lower interest loan. You can accomplish this by obtaining a home equity loan or a second mortgage if you own property, or, you can refinance your vehicle to get access to cash and pay down your other, higher interest accounts.
Debt Consolidation Programs: by applying to a debt consolidation program you can let the experts do the negotiating for you – this can result in forgiven debt, reduced debt and more manageable monthly payments.
Need Access To Cash?
We’re not judging you: we know that the holidays bring around the spirit of giving, and maybe you gave a little too much this past holiday season. If cash is what you’re after, then we can definitely help. Check out our application page and you’ll find access to personal loans, mortgages, home equity products, secured credit card, and other financing alternatives.
Improving Your Credit Score
Always a smart move – and also a great way to relieve some of that Blue Monday stress – is to find a way to improve or re-establish your credit score. You can find some information and tips on that by reading this article. Also, the following two strategies below would offer great help as well:
Secured Credit Card: you can obtain a secured credit card, which works just like a regular credit card, and start building your credit score today.
Credit Rehabilitation Savings Program: you can [quite easily] qualify for a credit rehabilitation savings program and build up your payment history to establish or re-establish your credit score and put some money away in savings as well.
For a bit of advice on how to avoid next year’s Holiday Debt, read this article.
Don’t Let Blue Monday Get You Down
Even though you might be seeing a steady drop in your bank account, as well as your spirits, it’s important not to let the winter get the better of you. Keep up with your New Year’s resolutions, get your debt under control, buckle down and look forward to the melting snow. Even if you do believe in Dr. Arnall’s theory, Blue Monday is, after all, just one day and it will come and go just as quickly as any other day.
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