Blue Monday? Forget it – here are reasons to be cheerful

January is barely more than a couple weeks old but Blue Monday – allegedly the most depressing day of the year – is looming.

Quick, batten down the hatches! Save yourselves! Take only what you need to survive!

Seriously now, let’s not be overdramatic. Why? because it is a load of old tosh. 

A formula was used to calculate a date for our collective downer. It included arbitrary variables such as ‘weather’ and ‘low motivational levels’ among other things.

Turns out the equation was first used in corporate press releases to entice us to spend more money before it was dismantled and shown to be hokum by health organisations and academics. 

As many people who have suffered clinical depression will know, an illness of this nature is not dictated by date or what the weather is doing. It is far more complicated.

Interestingly, the chap who invented the Blue Monday equation later distanced himself from it saying he didn’t mean for it to become a negative term. His intention was to inspire people to take positive action.

So rather than contribute to stigma or normalise nonsense, let’s categorise Blue Monday for what it is: a PR stunt.

Instead, let’s focus on the well meaning intention: positive action and reasons to be cheerful. There are loads of ways we can do this both in January and beyond. 

It can be as simple as watching a sunrise or sunset. I LOVE watching the sun come up and talk about it a lot in this blog (the photo for this post was taken just before day break). Studies show being outside can have a really positive effect on our mental wellbeing too.

Or we can replace Blue Monday-thinking with Brew Monday, the Samaritans brilliantly original campaign encouraging us to reach out to someone who’s feeling lonely. 

We can use this month to rest and unwind. For me, this involves nice cups of coffee, trading social media for books, watching old Hollywood films and sofa naps.

And, come 25 January, we’re ready to celebrate Burns Night. Despite no familial links whatsoever to Scotland, I find it comforting to gather around the dining table and eat mashed neets, tatties and peppery haggis (although the dash of whisky is optional, as is the tartan). 

Let’s not forget: January marks the beginning of days getting lighter. Soon delicate little snowdrops will signal spring is on the way. Finally! Daylight at the end of a long rainy tunnel!

What are your reasons for being cheerful this January? Let me know!

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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