Since it was first used by Sky Travel in 2005, the third Monday of January is proclaimed ‘Blue Monday’.

With Christmas being a distant memory, the realisation that we have already failed in our attempt to stick to New Year’s Resolutions, the cold, gloomy weather and the long wait for payday, today is supposed to be when we feel most fed up.

Of course, this year, we have the added pressures of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to deal with too.  

But what are the signs to look out for if the accumulation of these pressures are affecting your mood?

  • You are feeling low, and sluggish. You’d rather stay on the couch.
  • It doesn’t take much to ‘fire you up’ into an argument; an ordinary comment made in a conversation would do it.
  • You don’t achieve much when working – due to your productivity levels being low, not because of lack of work.
  • You don’t have a job and the prospects aren’t rosy.
  • You’d rather avoid talking to people. Anyone.
  • Comfort food/alcohol is your preferred choice, even when you know it’s not good for you.
  • Although you want to be ‘positive’, you can’t find a reason to be.

Is ‘Blue Monday’ real?

Although it sounds feasible, the science behind it isn’t actually real. The equation used to calculate the day was formulated by a psychologist, based on a set of assumptions on how we are probably feeling on this date every year – and more importantly - how likely we would be to book a holiday (remember, it was for a holiday firms PR campaign).

The date changes every year, so how real can it be?

The truth is, although it’s not scientifically accurate many of us are feeling the ‘symptoms’. Blue Monday isn’t real, but feeling blue definitely is.    

So, there are some things that can’t be disputed; how we feel mentally, emotionally and physically. Especially in January. Especially this year.

And more importantly, anxiety and depression can’t and shouldn’t be boxed into one day – as sufferers know all too well, it can last for so much longer than that.

Tips to help lift your mood.

Whether it’s ‘Blue Monday’ or any other day of the year there are thing you can do to help lift your mood if you’re struggling with any of the symptoms.

Here are a few tips:

  • Getting some fresh air, daily, even if it’s for 10 minutes it will help lift your mood.  
  • Managing through the dark days, which affects some people way more than others (SAD = Seasonal Affective Disorder) is helped by having access to light.That could mean a dose of sunshine, having the light streaming in through your windows, or even buying a small SAD lamp that mimics the effect of real light.
  • Eating well (fresh fruit and veg) and drinking plenty of water.
  • Watching something funny on TV or online. Laughter is therapy.
  • Talking to someone: a friend, family, colleague or someone who you know will listen. Even the shortest chat can help us feel connected and more resilient.
  • And more than ever this year, asking for help – from a professional or otherwise - could well be a life changer. Don’t hesitate.

Any day is a good day to start making a change in how we are feeling. Why not make that start today? Kicking Blue Monday, and all that it stands for, into touch could be the catalyst we need.