7 reasons why you shouldn’t be blue this Blue Monday

7 reasons why you shouldn’t be blue this Blue Monday

January has a rap as the most depressing month of the year. It comes straight after December after all and that’s a hard act to follow. December is a month of glitter and pizzazz, food and drink, parties and presents, new clothes, Christmas hair and people, people, people. Come January 2nd, we’re all feeling partied out, our sparkle has fizzled out, our bank accounts are empty, the weather in the northern hemisphere is cold and miserable, and we’re feeling fat and frumpy. It’s therefore no surprise to learn that the day marked as the most miserable day of the entire year has been pronounced as the third Monday in January.

In 2018 Blue Monday, as it is known, is set to fall tomorrow on 15th January. Prepare to be dejected and downcast. Abandon hope, take to your bed, and pull the quilt up to your chin. All is lost.

But wait!

Let’s take a closer look at January and readjust our thinking, shall we?

The Blue Monday idea is mumbo jumbo

If you take a closer look at how Blue Monday came about you will find that it is a load of old bunkum. The notion of the most depressing day of the year originated in a press release in 2005, by a holiday company called Sky Travel. They claimed to have calculated the date using an equation that basically factored in:

  • Weather conditions
  • Level of individual debt
  • The time elapsed since Christmas
  • Low motivation
  • Time elapsed since New Year resolutions were made (with the implication we have failed to keep them)

The press release claimed to have academic backing, but this has mostly been rejected in the intervening years, with the formula used described as nonsensical, and the whole thing pronounced ‘pseudoscience’ of the worst kind.

So that, really is all you need to know to dismiss the notion of the most miserable day of the year from your mind. Let’s look at how we can turn Blue Monday into Brilliant Monday.

How to turn Blue Monday into Brilliant Monday

1. The year is still young

If you’ve made your resolutions and broken them already, so what? The year is still brand spanking new! You still have an amazing 350 days in which to put all your plans into action and make a real difference to your world, or somebody else’s. There is no way you can give up, just 15 days into 2018. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, you’ve got this!

2. January is a beautiful month

In January when the world is so bare and stark, you see the earth so very differently. I challenge you this 15th January to take a walk and really look at the difference. See the animals that are still hanging around, and foraging for food? See the trees and bushes, shed clean of their foliage and biding their time before they burst into bloom once more? Often in January, we have bright blue skies, sharp white clouds, deep frosts, or flurries of snow. For many of us, that’s different and therefore exciting. Go for walks, take photos, play outside, paint landscapes. Mark the difference in the season!

3. Cosy up

Another reason to love January is its very cosiness. A few weeks ago you probably received presents from your nearest and dearest. Have you put them away? Saved them for later, or for best? Now is the best time. Get them out and indulge yourself in the socks and scarves, the toiletries and the wine. This 15th January, turn Blue Monday into Brilliant Monday by donning your cosiest warmest pyjamas, wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket, and putting your feet up after work. Light a fire, watch a film, eat the chocolates, read a book, listen to your new music. Yes, it’s cold outside, but there’s no excuse for making yourself miserable when you are surrounded by indulgent things.

4. December wasn’t that great

I often think that people are miserable in January because they are missing the excitement of December. I can never understand that. December is stressful – it’s all rush, rush, rush. Party here, family gathering there. There are deadlines to hit at work before the end of the year. There is rich food and too much sugar. There is a sense of expectancy followed by disappointment. There is a desire to constantly outdo the previous year. This can be soul-destroying.

So this Blue Monday, take the time to enjoy the calm and the peace and quiet. If you like to be alone, be alone. Enjoy the lack of expectation, and if it your desire, book the day off work and do precisely nothing. Because on Brilliant Monday, what you want, goes!

If nothing else, rejoice that next Christmas is a long way, away!

5. Look to the light

The shortest day, the winter solstice occurs on the 21st December. By the 15th January, there will be incremental increases in daylight every day. Summer is on its way.

6. Find your creativity

Now that the festive season is behind us, we actually have time to do the crafty or arty things we’ve always wanted to. You can start small and just have a dabble. No-one needs to see what you do, it’s yours and yours alone. This Blue Monday, buy some cheap paints, dust off your sewing machine, open that word document, or load up that YouTube video on playing the trombone.

7. January is the opening chapter of your 2018 book

You can have a few weeks’ grace in order to plot the year, but you should use Brilliant Monday to really get going on a new narrative for the year. Imagine you could do anything you wanted or be anything you wanted, or look any way you chose, what would you do? See how much of that you can achieve, month by month, starting from Blue Monday.

Good luck, and let us know how your Brilliant Monday turned out!

Tom VermeerschCreated by Tom Vermeersch Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

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