Image source: goffgough
Event: Blue Monday
Date: 15th January
Today is apparently the most depressing day of the year.
Blue Monday was first created in 2004, when a formula was devised to work out daily happiness, taking into account factors like weather and motivation.
The idea seems about right: January can be miserable. Winter, after the excitement of Christmas is over, generally is, while we wait for the days to get longer and the weather to get warmer. Add to that, the pressure that often comes with New Year’s resolutions (of which around 50% of people fail to keep past February, and only 9.5% managed to achieve by the end of last year), while we’re all significantly poorer, and a little vitamin D deficient.
In short, it's a cold, dark Monday, and spring seems a long way off.
From the formula, the worst and best days of the year (the third Monday of January, and sometime in June) were announced.
[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA
W = weather; T = time since Christmas; Q = time since failing our new years resolutions; M = low motivational levels; NA = the need to take action
The formula looks impressive, apart from the fact that a) it was created by a PR team, and not by mental health professionals, and b) without any units of measurement (which there aren’t), it's entirely without meaning.
In fact, some mental health professionals claim the holiday is actually harmful to their cause: as anyone suffering from a mental health issue can tell you, mental conditions don't follow a formula, or wait for the weather to match your mood.
To some people, the idea of the holiday can be seen as overly simplistic, and risk equating depression with a case of 'the blues'.
Mind, the mental health charity has set up a #BlueAnyDay hashtag to argue this, while the Samaritans created #BrewMonday, inviting people to use the day to get together and chat through issues over a coffee.
While there are obvious issues with the holiday, there are some benefits to a day on which we all expect to be miserable. On days like Blue Monday, we look inwards, assess our mental wellbeing, and try to work out the little things we can do to make ourselves happier.
So what can you do to lift your spirits on Blue Monday (or any day of the year, really)?
Exercise: It sounds cliché, and can be really difficult to build up the motivation, but even going for a walk can massively boost your adrenaline and endorphin levels, making you feel more energetic afterwards.
Prepare yourself a healthy meal with vegetables: Overindulging at Christmas is part of what got us in this situation, and although we often crave junk food when we feel bad, it can make you feel worse afterwards, while nutrient-dense meals can make you feel more positive and energetic.
Practice simple self care rituals: The term 'self care' sometimes seems a buzzword used by brands to sell products, but simple routines, like baths, face masks and at-home manicures are an important way to reconnect to yourself, and crucial to your overall feeling of wellbeing.
Retail therapy: While it won’t help with the post-Christmas bank account, many brands are using Blue Monday as a January sales opportunity - why not take advantage?
And if, like most if us, you have failed at keeping your New Year’s resolutions, don’t stress: This Wednesday is annual Ditch Your Resolutions day, and the perfect time to come up with some more achievable ones.
But most importantly, please remember there’s nothing wrong with just telling people you’re not feeling good today. None of these tips are quick fixes, and they definitely don't make a solution, just small ways we find make things a little easier.