Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year, and depending on what you read, this year it’s either on January 17th or January 24th. Originally it was called Black Monday. I’m glad the name was changed.
I’d actually never even heard of Blue Monday until recently so I did a little research. It appears to have started as a creative advertising campaign by a British travel agency encouraging people to get happy by booking a vacation.
Sky Travel offered money to any academic who could come up with a believable formula to pinpoint the most depressing day of the year. A part-time psychology tutor at Cardiff University in Wales stepped up to the plate. Developing a formula that takes into account lousy weather, debt from Christmas, New Year’s resolution failures, low motivation and seasonal affective disorder, the Monday of the last full week of January ended up being the chosen day for mass depression.
As someone who believes that happiness is a mindset and that we can either look at life like our cup is half full or our cup is half empty, I had mixed feelings about whether to pay attention to this made up “holiday.” At first glance it seemed to revel in the negative, but after looking into it further, I liked the idea behind its message.
It’s simple, really. BlueMonday.org picked January 24th as the special day this year for people to focus on treating each other with acts of kindness. The idea was to spread happiness, remind us about the benefits of kindness, to inspire more of it and to bring people together.
“Kindness creates connections,” I read on their website. “Doing something for someone, even just having a chat with someone new, adds to the network of humanity.” I agreed with that.
Other ways to help get over those wintertime blues are laughter, sunshine (real or light therapy), taking care of yourself physically and surrounding yourself with positive people who will help lift your spirits rather than sap your energy.
One of my personal favorites in chasing away those dark clouds we all get from time to time is to write in a gratitude journal. After jotting down everything I’m grateful for, I then follow it up with an outpouring of whatever’s going on in my brain. The next day I do it again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
My 72-year-old friend Ernie Tadla calls it his mental bath and does it every morning when he wakes up.
“You wouldn’t leave the house without brushing your teeth and having a shower would you?” he asked me once. “Well, why wouldn’t you give your mind the same courtesy that you give your body?” He’s right. Why wouldn’t I?
I realize that none of this is anything new – it’s all been said before. But we all need reminders don’t we? I know I do. If you have a suggestion for something that helps you beat the blues that you’d like to share, please email me through my website or look me up on Facebook and let me know what it is.
Heaven knows we can all help each other out with stuff like this.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. You can contact her at loriwelbourne.com