So, its Monday 16th January 2017. In my eyes, and I am fairly sure to the rest of the world, a fairly normal Monday, the same kind that comes and goes every seven days, and the same kind that marks the start of a new week. However, I was surprised to realise, that this Monday was apparently not an ordinary Monday, it was in fact the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’.
So I feel like I am a bit behind the hype of this anniversary, but with the help of some quick googling, today, or most specifically the third Monday of the month has been SCIENTIFICALLY labelled the most depressing day of the year. A group of scientists actually came up with a formula back in 2005 that calculated when the population of the Northern Hemisphere would be feeling at their lowest. And I am not sure about anyone else, but my goodness the fact someone wanted to calculate that made me sad!
But it wasn’t until about half-way through my day that I knew Blue Monday was a thing, and before and after then I had actually had an alright day. I woke up, (however I had a small adult headache due to enjoying a couple glasses of wine last night to celebrate finishing my exams and getting some good essay results), walked onto campus and sat and did some uni work, went to a lecture about something that genuinely interested me (that was however interrupted by a fire alarm half way though so we had to stand out in the cold), and then I went to do some more work before walking home and retreating to my room to write this. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a spectacular day, and I could have done without the headache and the fire alarm, and the uni work to be honest, I didn’t once think ‘ugh well it’s blue Monday so that explains it’. It got me thinking, if we weren’t aware of it being said dreaded day, would we see the not so great things that happened to us as bad and depressing? Or would we do what I did and not even register them as anything.
Me enjoying that wine…
But there are two outcomes I have seen come out of today, one of which I found frustrating and the other filled me with a bit more hope.
- The first, sadly, goes back to good old consumerism. Whilst flicking through my Instagram feed I noticed that any company/ clothing brand/ anyone that sells anything had latched on to this ‘Blue Monday’ idea with a firm grip. All would tell you that if you’re feeling blue, buy some clothes to cheer yourself up, grab some product to make you look or feel better, buy some food to comfort your sorrows. Anyone and everyone had used this ‘scientific discovery’ as a marketing push to get you to bust those blue with spending money – something which seems illogical because the ‘formula’ actually takes into account your debt at this time of the month.
I guess the real point I’m getting at here is it made me pretty sad that once again, like many things, this piece of research has been turned into a mass marketing campaign set to drive us to spend money.
But if there was a cocktail deal on this evening, I probably would have been there quicker than you can say ‘2 for 1’
However, in a very non-cynical frame of mind, people have to make money somehow and its actually quite clever of them to use this to ramp up their numbers after January sales finish, which sort of leads me to my next point…
2. Blue Monday is actually going quite far in raising awareness for mental health and just the populations’ general well-being. So, its sad that someone has formulated when the most depressing day of the year is, but, does that not mean that people can look out for each other at this supposed ‘trying time’ in our lives? Charities are promoting mental health awareness, universities are offering free yoga classes, bloggers and websites are offering their tips to help beat the blues and promote healthy mental well-being.
I go for walks with my family to cheer me up and have some thinking time.
So, yes, it seems as if Blue Monday has fallen prey to the world of consumerism and marketing just as all things do. But not all marketing is bad, to see that people were using this research to try and help and support others, filled me with an enormous sense of pride and hope in people, which made my ‘Blue Monday’, decidedly less blue.
So if you’re feeling glum, hug a friend, hug a pet, do some yoga, eat a pizza, call your mum, have a nap, talk to someone, read a book, dance around your house naked, you get the picture. Do whatever you want to do and what makes you happy, don’t sweat the small stuff and look for the positives in life, no matter how much adversity you face, but ultimately, stick together and support each other.
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
But sometimes staying positive can be really tough so here are some really great people/charities to call, get in contact with or check out if you ever need that extra support:
Mind: A charity and place for advice and support for anything mental health related http://www.mind.org.uk
Young Minds: For information and support for anyone concerned about a child or young person http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Samaritans:For anyone feeling distressed, needs support and someone to talk to http://www.samaritans.org
PANDAS Foundation: A charity focused on helping mothers with pre and postnatal depression http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk
Nightline: For students who need someone to talk to if they are walking home alone or just need someone to listen http://nightline.ac.uk
(Note there are a lot of worthwhile charities that help with mental health and these are just a small selection and mainly UK based)
I realise again that this was a pretty hefty post, so thank you if you stuck with it, but I hope that at least one of you found it interesting or helpful… It’s my first sort of ‘opinion’ piece that I’ve ever really written/posted so its a new adventure for me to write and you to read!
Much Love x