It’s that time of year again – “Blue Monday.” It’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.
Back in 2005, Dr Cliff Arnall came up with a formula for calculating the most depressing day in the year. Blue Monday is supposed to be on the third Monday of January.
Apparently, the date was calculated by using factors such as the weather conditions, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action (and probably failing at that too).
In 2018, Arnall told The Independent newspaper that it was “never his intention to make the day sound negative” but rather “to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions”. Dr Arnall went on to partner with Virgin to challenge the perception of Blue Monday.
So… How do you feel today?
I woke up to the furries ones ready for a walk, and what’s not to love about being harassed by your dogs at 5 am, 7 am and 8 am?
In all honesty, having a morning routine and getting out into the fresh air mostly means my day gets off to a great start. So no blue Monday for me here.
Maybe we perceive it as a melancholy day because most people’s resolutions (who sets them anyway?) are down the pan, motivation might not be going in the right direction, and the bills are coming in. Yes, I was super pleased to get my web hosting invoice yesterday…
Don’t let blue Monday dictate to us
“Mondays are the start of the work week which offer new beginnings 52 times a year!”David Dweck
I’m one of those irritating and happy any time of the day, people. There isn’t any day of the week I hate. And I especially love mornings, and I am quite fond of a Monday morning as it’s when I can organise stuff with a fresh head.
Not everyone is happy like me, and I do wonder why some let a day dictate our mood and outlook on life. Instead, I believe that if we take control and manage our emotions, we can make the most of every day, no matter what it may bring.
Last week, both my dogs ate human poo on a walk. I know yuk! And they still wanted to kiss and rub on me. As a super furry mum, I reframed (I did) and gave them a good wash when we got home. I rarely let things get me down, but when I do, I journal and go for a walk.
Back to Blue Monday…
First, it’s important to remember that “Blue Monday” is just a myth. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that one specific day is the most depressing. However, it’s true that many people may feel a little down during the winter months due to the shorter days and lack of sunlight. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it control us.
I recently got a mini SAD light for my office, as my house is so dark. It’s quite comforting, though I can’t tell if I now have new superhuman powers yet.
So what about stuff you can do?
One way to combat the winter blues is to get outside (I have no choice) and soak up some sunshine (yay for living in Spain), even if it’s just for a few minutes. Take a walk during your lunch break, or sit on a park bench and enjoy the fresh air. Not only will this provide a boost of vitamin D, but it will also give you a chance to clear your head and get some exercise.
I think I would go bonkers if I didn’t get outside at least 3 to 4 times a day. It certainly helps my mood and attitude toward life.
Another way to do this is through self-care. What’s not to love about making time for yourself to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or indulging in your favourite nourishing food? Give yourself permission to take a break and recharge.
Try this. Find somewhere to lie and put on a Yoga Nidra for 20 minutes. It will refresh and revitalise you, ready for what’s ahead.
Surround yourself with beautiful souls
It’s also important to surround ourselves with positive people. Surround yourself with friends and family who make you feel good and who bring you joy.
January is a good time for a declutter. Perhaps those friends in sheep’s clothing or the ones with toxic behaviours need a wide berth? I know it can be hard, but putting in stronger boundaries will pay off in the longer term.
Another way to beat the blues is through gratitude. Take a moment each day to reflect on the things in your life that you’re thankful for. This could be anything from your health, to your loved ones, to the simple pleasures in life, like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s day.
Right now, I am grateful daily for my amazing new log burner. I have an old house which is very cold in the winter, and this is my only source of heat. I love it so much I could lick it!
Set realistic expectations
In addition, it’s also important to set realistic expectations for ourselves. We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be happy all the time, but that’s not realistic. It’s okay to have bad days and to feel down. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and give yourself the space to process them.
My go-to place is my journal. When stuff does get to me, I scribble, and I take the furries for a walk.
Book a short trip or a visit to the theatre
Having something to look forward to changes how you feel about dull days. I have a short trip booked to Marbella as I am speaking at the Costa Women International Women’s Day conference, and I am going to our local theatre soon to see The Wizard Of Oz.
Both of these have created little buzzes of excitement in my January.
Journal prompts for a not so Blue Monday
“This is your Monday morning reminder that you can handle whatever this week throws at you”
Here are ten positive journal prompts to help you beat the blues:
- What am I grateful for today?
- What can I do to take care of myself today?
- What is one small thing I can do to make someone else’s day better?
- What is something I can do to make today a little more enjoyable?
- What is one thing I can do to make my home feel cosy and inviting?
- What is one thing I can do to make my work environment more pleasant?
- What is one thing I can do to make my community a better place?
- What is one small step I can take towards achieving my goals?
- What is something I can do to make today memorable?
- What is one thing I can do to make myself feel proud today?
You see, when you look at Blue Monday through a different lens with a pen and journal by your side, perspectives change.
I use 101-day journies to get me on track and refocused. A big part of the “101 Days of Being Me” group program is journaling and reflecting. It could change your life!
Imagine taking a 101-day journey that will completely transform your life. This journey is the key to building the life you want and know you deserve.
By the end of the 101 days, you will have a greater sense of self-awareness, self-compassion and self-confidence that will help you to live a more fulfilling life. And you will have forgotten dreary January…
Don’t let Blue Monday or any other day dictate your mood and outlook on life. Take control and change your life by joining the “101 Days of Being Me” today.