Monday, 19 January 2015

Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year?

Overcoming Blue Monday

Today, the third Monday and last full week of January, has been coined 'Blue Monday'. The term has been trending on Twitter all day, and it seems to be clogging up my Facebook news feed. Blue Monday is a phenomenon invented by a psychologist who said that it is the most depressing day of the year, due to a mixture of the weather, the time since Christmas, motivation levels, debt levels and the time since failing new year's resolutions - all plugged into a calculation that looks fancy but really doesn't make that much sense.

For starters, none of the variables really seem sensible. It would be impossible to calculate the motivation levels of everyone in the world or when they started to fail their new year's resolutions. It also doesn't make sense that the most depressing day of the year would be the same each year, as the weather and different circumstances change with time and experience. Every single person will have one day of the year which is worst for them, but it isn't necessarily going to be today. There will probably be a point in your year when you feel the lowest you ever have and just want to curl up in bed and cry yourself to sleep, and if that day is today then it is most likely coincidental.

January can be a time where people feel generally a little more down than usual. It's easy to get the post-Christmas blues and feel sorry for yourself when your resolutions fail - plus there's the debt from the festive period pulling at your purse strings. So I guess the whole month could generally be coined 'Blue January'. But there are also lots of things to look forward to: a new year means a new start for many people, and it's a time that you can start to think about summer holidays and make plans for the coming months. The cold weather brings an excuse to snuggle up in bed or cosy up by the fire, plus you can feel a little less bad about that tub of ice-cream you just ate - as you need that extra fat to keep warm, surely?

For those that suffer with clinical depression, 'Blue Monday' is a bit patronising and frustrating. It's almost as though depression is portrayed by the media as an emotion that is easily overcome by the next day; after Blue Monday all of us sufferers should have a Happy Tuesday. Everyone will go through days where they feel 'depressed' and generally don't have a great day, but for those with depression that becomes much more prolonged and difficult to change. It doesn't matter what day of the week it is or if it's January or June; depression can be felt equally at any time of the year and should not be trivialised or made to seem insignificant. On the other hand, it is good that there is a day where awareness around depression is being raised. It's possibly the one day of the year that a lot of people talk about depression, even if it is just due to it being nearly 4 weeks since Christmas, and that can't necessarily be a bad thing.

I normally don't have that much of a problem with the start of the week, but ironically today has been a bit of a Blue Monday for me. I have felt a bit lonely and like any small thing could make me burst into tears - plus I had a lovely weekend and have come back to reality with a bit of a bump. However I wouldn't say my day has been 'blue', more like 'black'; depression is almost like a hole that you can't escape from, making it near impossible to challenge your negative or suicidal thoughts. Days like this make me question whether it would be easier if I wasn't here - but then I suddenly snap back to rational thinking and know it's silly thinking that way.

I've managed to overcome my Blue Monday by lying in bed reading trashy magazines and listening to my favourite music, whilst eating leftover Lindt Christmas chocolate. I still don't feel amazing but I'm getting there. I find one of the best things is to listen to my body and what it needs, and today it needed a bit of TLC in the form of naps and distracting myself. Plus my new snuggly coral jumper in the photo above (here, from New Look) brightened up my day a little in hospital. Let's hope tomorrow is a better day for me - a 'Happy Tuesday' would do just fine, thank you very much.
You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
                            - Martin Luther King


  1. I'd never really put much thought into blue Monday before but now you've pointed out its shortcomings it seems blatantly obvious. It's great that people are having a discussion about depression on such a mass scale but to those who deal with it on a daily basis it must seem to be trivialising what can be a crippling proble

    1. I hadn't thought about it all that much until yesterday if I'm honest - but it really could affect some of those with mental health issues that don't just last for one day xx