Don't let Blue Monday get you down and beat the blues on the moodiest day of the year in Italy with VisitItaly.eu.

The third Monday of January has been awarded Blue Monday due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold nights, and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.

A university professor, Cliff Arnall, managed to calculate the most depressing day of the year precisely. He estimated the date by using many factors, including weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions, low motivational stories, and a need to act.

Let's discover the 5 best Italian solutions to boost your mood and increase the happy hormone on the saddest day of the year.

5. Breathe and relax in front of an Italian sunset

Meditation is one of the most potent ways to prevent and alleviate depression. Meditating at sunset is an incredible experience to fully enjoy one of the most significant moments of the day. Indeed, as the light dims and the air becomes cooler at sunset, we are ourselves in the process of evolution.

Undoubtedly, summer is the favourite season to meditate outdoors as the sun goes down, but Italy also offers enchanting sunsets during the winter season.

From the North to the South, the Bel Paese has incredible spectacles where you can forget the sadness and stun your senses.

You can enjoy the most Italian breath-taking sunsets in: Stromboli (Sicily), where the sun swallowed directly from the volcano's crater and has obtained a UNESCO World Heritage status; Polignano a Mare (Apulia), where the sun sets over the village, tinging it with watercolours; and Orbetello (Tuscany), where the presence of a solitary mill makes everything more magical. Finally, no matter if you are in Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto or Friuli Venezia Giulia, the sunset over the Dolomites is esoteric everywhere.

4. Have a coffee and a laugh with your friends

Coffee time with friends

One of the easiest mood-boosting things is to surround yourself with loved and positive people. In Italian culture, having coffee with friends is one of the most popular and shared rituals.

Have you ever wondered what coffee is? Coffee is an excuse. An excuse to tell a friend that you love him.

Luciano De Crescenzo

A simple coffee with a friend can be the best, and only, the therapy you need. It is a way to share moments of chat, relaxation, and fun, during which you can laugh spontaneously, talk about this and that and remember special moments.

On the saddest day of the year, more than ever, it is appropriate to "disconnect" from your PC or mobile phone and live a simple but special moment to safeguard your physical and, above all, mental health by enjoying the authentic taste of an Italian coffee.

3. Dive into nature

On this day, you can rediscover the taste of contact with nature, with the Earth on which we live to lift your mood.

A real panacea is to leave your smartphone and any distractions behind and start strolling in unspoilt places. You will gradually see your nerves melt away, your heartbeat slows down, and your pupils dilate, giving you a great sense of calm.

The Italian landscape offers many places to immerse yourself in nature and seek inner peace and happiness. Among them, natural parks play a fundamental role and  Italy is the homeland of many of them. Some of the most important ones are: the Gran Paradiso National Park, between Piedmont and Aosta Valley; the Stelvio National Park, which has its home in the Alps of Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige; the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park; in the province of Belluno, the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park; between Basilicata and Calabria, the Pollino National Park; and the Cilento National Park in Campania.

2. Mens sana in corpore sana

Snowshoes hike

As Juvenal said with "Mens sana in corpore sana", there is a clear relationship between exercise and psychophysical well-being. Training increase your psychological well-being and improve your mood.

Therefore, doing sport on the saddest day of the year is another possible solution to promote a good mood. At this time of year, the mountains can become your natural gym, capable of stimulating the well-being of body and mind. At high altitudes, you completely immerse yourself in nature, in close contact with the environment and far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Italy is also a beautiful country for winter sports: you can practise skiing or snowboarding to let yourself be carried away in the snow by the wind in magical areas such as Livigno or Cortina d'Ampezzo; or twirling on ice on artificial, but also natural ice rinks and lakes, such as Braies Lake in Trentino Alto Adige, Fiorenza Lake in Piedmont or Gover Lake in Aosta Valley.

But even a simple snowshoe hike can improve your mood, perfect for those who want to savour the silence of a snowy forest on this particular day. For those who don't know, snowshoes are a kind of shoes that allow you to walk in the snow without sinking. Snowshoeing is organised in a number of Italian ski resorts, including Monte Beigua (Liguria), Carnia (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Anello della Nuda (Emilia-Romagna), Castelluccio di Norcia (Umbria), Monti della Laga (Abruzzo) and Etna (Sicily).

1. Pizza beats all blues!

Pizza Margherita

Is it by chance that Blue Monday and World Pizza Day are on the same date?

17th January is the day dedicated to the queen of Italian cuisine: Italian Pizza. The choice of this date is not a case; in fact, this day is the St Anthony the Abbot's Day; he was the patron saint of bakers and pizza makers. According to ancient tradition, the families of pizza makers in Naples went to Capodimonte to celebrate the saint with a bonfire for good luck.

But the famous and Italian pizza is not only one of the best Italian delicacies loved worldwide. According to various scientific studies, providing a good supply of complex carbohydrates and B vitamins boosts energy, affecting the production of feel-good neurotransmitters. The result is mood regulation.

In addition, the dough and mozzarella cheese provide a valuable share of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin, the well-known happy hormone.

Choose your Italian anti-depression and sadness antidote to overcome this particular Monday of the year!

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