No it’s not some ‘beginning of the week alternative’ to Black Friday, though, you’d be forgiven for thinking so, for, the names are quite similar.
What it actually is, is, ‘the most Depressing day of the year.’
Typically falling on the 3rd Monday in January,
It falls on Monday 16th January.
In terms of why tomorrow is deemed to be ‘the most depressing day of the year’, research conducted in 2005 by Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall on behalf of UK travel company ‘Sky Travel’, found that it is the day in which a number of factors, lending to the general emotions that typically arise after Christmas and new year, occur.
E.g., the day in which;
- Time since new year’s resolutions have been broken
- Levels of motivation
- Debt level
- Change of weather
come together to create the ‘perfect storm’ in terms of our nations collective state of mind
(a.k.a. our ‘gloominess‘).
Now, whether there is one day that’s more depressing than any other day, I’m not so sure about, but, something that I do agree on, is the concept of winter causing heightened levels of gloominess. Just look at ‘SAD‘ (seasonal affective disorder).
Effecting 1 in 15 Britons (around 2 million people in the UK), SAD is a classified mental health disorder that sees symptoms of Depression either arriving, or, increasing in intensity, in correspondence with the winter months.
Whilst the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it is thought to arise in response to the reduced exposure to the sun/reduced daylight hours that naturally occur during winter, the effect being, in some cases, a reduction in serotonin levels in the body, something which is arguably the biggest contributor to feelings of depression (hence why serotonin in the form of SSRI antidepressants is commonly prescribed to Depressive patients to treat their symptoms of Depression).
It can be argued then that ‘Blue Monday’ is really just a day dedicated to the mental illness that is SAD. To reduce it to one day could therefore be quite patronising to people who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as they have to live with it for, in many cases, several months per year, not just one day.
Thus, because Blue Monday is, in my opinion, just a simplified and, one could argue, ‘mass marketed‘ version of SAD, to get through the day with our sense of hopefulness still in tact, all the recommended practices for getting through SAD should be utilised. Such practices include;
- Getting as much natural sunlight as possible
- Exercising regularly
- Managing stress levels
(to name just a few)
Tomorrow then, if you’re worried about ‘Blue Monday’ living up to its name and making you feel ‘Blue‘, then please, make sure you schedule some time during the day to;
- Get outside,
- Go for a walk,
- Be in the light
(both literally and metaphorically).
The truth is that YOU get to decide your mindset.
YOU get to decide to make tomorrow
an amazing one.
‘Blue Monday’ or not,
you don’t need to feel blue.