This year “Blue Monday” will fall on Monday 20th January. The date was calculated by Dr Cliff Arnall, a university professor taking into account:
- Cold weather and shorter days
- Debt incurred from Christmas which cannot be paid off easily
- The time since Christmas
- The time since failing our new year’s resolutions
- Low motivational levels yet feeling the need to take action
But is it myth or fact? Leading mental health charities such as Mind reject the notion of Blue Monday, believing it trivialises depression which is a serious condition and can occur on any day. Others also state Blue Monday was part of a marketing ploy by a travel company to help sell more holidays.
Regardless of whether you chose to believe in Blue Monday or not, there is no denying that it can be a challenging time of year. The enthusiasm of a “new year, new me” may be waning and the arrival of spring still feels like some time away. The lack of sunlight and vitamin D can directly affect our mood and energy levels. We may feel like retreating into our homes and avoiding social interaction; in some respects this is very normal. The winter solstice has not long passed, a period of descent and rest. Just as we see in nature and animals, it is a time for hibernation. As humans, it is a chance to connect with our inner selves and reflect upon the year that has been and gone. It is a restorative time to let things go and embrace the possibilities of what a new year can bring.
So what can you do to banish the Blue Monday blues?
Look after yourself
It might sound simple but ensuring you eat a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep and keeping active can really support your wellbeing. Try to get out for some fresh air within daylight hours, even a short walk around the block will have an impact.
It’s all too easy to focus on what is wrong or missing from your life. Shifting your focus onto what IS right and what you DO have can help put things in perspective. Ending your day by noting down 3 things you feel grateful for can be really helpful. This can include simple things such as having enjoyed the sunshine on a crisp winter’s day.
Accept a low mood will pass
It is natural for us to experience episodes of low mood, motivation and energy. Remember they are not permanent states of being and will pass.
Engage in talking therapy
Perhaps this is a time when you could benefit from reaching out to a professional who is impartial. It may well be the case that life doesn’t feel as fulfilling as you would like it to be and you need some support to establish how you would like things to be different.
If you are interested in exploring some of these themes or simply just want to talk, please do not hesitate to contact me via my website www.gemmaantcliffe-counselling.co.uk or call on 07432 835468.