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How to beat Blue Monday

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Dr. Cliff Arnall may have come up with an equation for calculating the most depressing day of the year, but here’s how to beat it. Weather: Overcast skies and shorter daytime have you down? Try a full spectrum light, says Hamilton. Any home improvement store will carry full spectrum fluorescent light tubes or compact fluorescents. Try putting one in your favorite reading spot to combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Debt: If debt incurred over the holidays is freaking you out, take action. “See a financial expert if you have a severe problem,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately, many people slip into denial (and do nothing).” But be realistic. Don’t over inflate your level of debt if it really isn’t so bad, he said. Time since Christmas: “There is a post-holiday let down,” Hamilton said. To recapture your holiday merriment, try renting a few funny flicks. “Laughter releases an amazing amount of endorphins into the bloodstream,” he said. Failing resolutions: “This falls under the KISS principle — Keep It Simple, Stupid,” Hamilton said. If your resolutions are too ambitious, too general or not time specific, you’re guaranteed to be disappointed. Low motivation: If you find your gumption lacking this time of year, it might be poor diet, lack of exercise and/or sleep disturbances that are keeping you sluggish. “Increase your level of exercise or level of involvement with other people and relationships,” Hamilton suggests. Need to take action: Realize what spurs you to action. Are you self-motivated person who can learn something and apply it to your life? Or do you need a friend or coach to guide you? You may also have an unconscious barrier to achieving goals, Hamilton said, in which case professional help may be needed.