The third Monday in January has the dubious honor of being called the worst day of the whole year. It’s known as Blue Monday.
Psychologist Cliff Arnall of Wales calculated the depressing date. He factored in the weather, holiday debt, and the end of the holiday season. Then considered that Mondays are the most difficult day of the week anyway. Add in the fact that most of us have already failed at our new year’s resolutions and we’re in despair.
It’s an imperfect formula, but the notorious Monday in January highlights that this time of year can be tough. Be sure to give your mental health some attention if you feel a bit more blue than usual.
From there, you have an opportunity to choose your own adventure. Take a moment and think about what you need to feel better.
Adventure 1: Give yourself a break
You’ve sparkled through family gatherings and holiday parties. You’ve woken up in a chilly bedroom and trudged through unpleasant weather to do all the things you need to do. If doing nothing for a day will feel good, go ahead. It’s just one day.
Adventure 2: Show yourself some care
It’s easy to put others first and get used to accepting what’s left over for yourself. But how about making yourself No. 1 today? To boost your mood, you might consider spending some time outdoors, using a light therapy box, getting some vitamin D, or trying meditation.
Adventure 3: Do something for someone else
Sometimes all it takes to feel more gratitude for what you have is to spend time with someone who has less. Consider volunteering, giving money to your favorite cause, or calling up a friend to see what’s going on.
Adventure 4: Fix what’s wrong
A bubble bath or TV binge can be fun, but they can also distract from the real issue. If you’ve been feeling off for a while, consider choosing the most difficult–but also most rewarding–of the four adventures.
Some self-reflection might reveal what needs changing in your life. Try to look beyond the obvious. For example, if your bank account is always low, maybe it’s not that you need to ask for a raise. Maybe you are spending to make up for lack of self-confidence.
If you’re feeling anti-social, maybe the problem is that you’ve outgrown your current group and you need to find a new social circle. If you feel like you need to change your partner, maybe you’re with the wrong person.
For big life changes like these, you might consider enlisting a therapist. Therapists are trained to take a non-judgmental look at things you might not see yourself. They can also support you through challenging life moments.
If Blue Monday stirs up feelings for you, acknowledge what you’re feeling and try to find a productive plan of action for you.
Image by svetikd