Healthy Living,  Stress Management

Rethinking Blue Monday

‘The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.’ Winston Churchill

Today is Blue Monday, which is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first coined in 2005 by a holiday company who claimed to have used an equation to calculate the date – taking into account the poor weather conditions, time since Christmas, low motivation and the fact that most new year’s resolutions have now been consigned to the history books. Whatever the method used to calculate this date, we can all agree that January is a very long month, it’s dark outside, the sparkle of Christmas is a long-forgotten memory and spring seems a long way off. Given these facts, it’s easy to see why (for some) Blue Monday is a day where low mood reaches a peak.

Positive from negative

A well-known concept in physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed – it can only be changed. The notion of Blue Monday carries with it a negative connotation, we are told that we should be feeling down and will find a way to realise these feelings. But instead of taking this date as a negative, we can change the energy surrounding it into a positive opportunity. Let’s view Blue Monday as a reminder of all the awesome reasons we have to feel happy and upbeat. Everyday we get to choose our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. This day is no different, so why not make the decision to make it a positive day instead of a negative.

Review

Look back at those resolutions you made 3 weeks ago – where are you on the path towards your goals. Did you join the gym and go once? Then maybe pack your bag, set the alarm for an hour early and drag yourself to a morning workout. You will not regret getting back on track.

Did you plan to meditate or read every single day? Maybe time has gotten away from you while you scrolled through social media each day. Setting a limit on your phone can be quite revealing as it shows you exactly how long you spent browsing Facebook! This could be an easy way to cut back, where you could carve out some time for a more positive hobby then looking at your cousin’s, friend’s, ex’s, mum’s holiday photos (we’ve all been there!)

Rebuild

Perhaps, upon reflection, you’ve realised that heading to 7 gym classes every week is a little bit too much for you. This time of the year is challenging to start a new routine – we are naturally disposed towards hibernating, snuggling down and eating comfort food to keep us warm and happy. Yet each January we fight against this with restrictive diets, heavy exercise routines and pushing beyond our limits. A more relaxed and kinder approach might give you the start you need, to build up your fitness levels in a slower manner. Looking at improving your fitness levels as a long-term goal, gives you the chance to take things slowly, have a day-off every now and then, and to keep your resolutions. This is the time to re-adjust your plans, new year resolutions are not set in tablets of stone – they can be amended, adjusted and completely changed as we move on.

Reclaim

Blue Monday might be used by the media to encourage a feeling of darkness and gloom, but we don’t need to buy into all of that. We can make the executive decision to think positive, to meditate, to employ a little bit of self-care and to use this ‘depressing’ day to gain a bit of perspective on our goals. So, I am going to reclaim Blue Monday and encourage you to think of the ‘blue’ not as a synonym for feeling down, but instead as the ‘blue’ of a clear, cloudless sky. Let’s re-frame how we look at Blue Monday and turn it into a positive day.

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