Updated: Jan 28
Happy Mo[o]nday folks! - or rather, Happy Full-Moon-Lunar-Eclipse! What divine timing...
The night sky is a constant reminder of the rhythms of life. Each night offers subtle shifts, the stars move, the moon waxes + wanes, showers come + go. A gentle reminder to contemplate our own rhythms.
We all live under the same sky, we are in constant flow, and we are all connected - you are not alone.
So, maybe you've heard that...
Today is Blue Monday - or is it?
Who decides that today will be your 'most depressing' day of the year – Facebook, the Newspaper, the Radio, or You?
Blue is just a colour, and today is your canvas to paint.
Blue Monday was coined in 2005 by Holiday Company (Sky Travel), as a marketing strategy to boost sales. The company worked with Dr Cliff Arnall, a psychologist, to invent a ‘formula’ to calculate the saddest day of the year using factors like weather conditions, debt levels and time since Christmas - my blood was boiling researching this, a very sobering experience, read on – Dr Cliff Arnall has since stated in countless reports how dangerous this incident has been.
The hype of Blue Monday encourages people to cultivate unhappiness. Being told repeatedly that ‘today will be the saddest day of the year’ has the risk of sinking into your subconscious – and you believe it, it’s real for you. The concept trivialises a serious illness like depression, suggesting the unhealthy idea that depression can calculated and measured – symptoms of clinical depression don’t care what day of the year it is.
True clinical depression is a far more complex condition, much too great to fit inside the January-blues-box. Many charities, groups and organisations have responded to the danger of Blue Monday with awareness campaigns. Samaritans transformed Blue Monday into Brew Monday - a campaign dedicated to preventing suicide and improving the nation’s mental health. How inspiring?
So, Blue Monday may be more fictional than we first thought, but there’s no denying that January can be a difficult time of year for many. It’s not uncommon for moods to swing, emotions to be triggered and money to be tight. It’s quite understandable, and if you find comfort in anything, find it in knowing you are not alone – not by many means.
The Odds & Opportunities
The odds are:
January is tight and you’ll naturally be spending more time at home. Money is spread thin and you will be spending it more carefully. You may be experiencing some problems sticking to, or keeping motivation for, the New Year Intentions you set. Perhaps this is affecting your mood. Equally, maybe your mood swings are affecting your ability to understand and express how you feel.
The opportunities are:
More Time - to cleanse your living-space, and make it a joyful, cosy & comfortable place to reside in. Declutter, reorganise and awaken some positive Feng Shui into your home (check out my last post on the KonMari method).
Get Outside – being outdoors boosts your mood. Not only that, but a lack of sunlight will limit the amount of vitamin D your body produces. Getting outside more will help boost your endorphins levels, increase your energy and relax your mind. A brisk 20-minute walk each day can improve your mood and won’t cost a penny.
Talk to your Wallet – it’s completely normal to have ‘the fear’ when it comes to January finances. The blessing, and the opportunity is, you have the incentive to face this fear. Just simply have a chat with and get to know the current state of your finances. Get organised for the year ahead and look forward to nurturing a healthier bank account. If you need more professional guidance and help, I recommend speaking to citizen’s advice.
New Year Resolutions & Intentions are being testing – whatever your intentions for 2019 are, setbacks are inevitable. Rather, it’s how to respond to the setbacks that count. It’s good to be motivated, but too much pressure can be counterproductive. Relax and keep going. Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day.
Talk to Friends – talking can help, and often being the person to start the conversation can be helpful for others too. Make a brew, grab a cushion and have a cosy heart-felt chat. Really - how are you?
Get Creative – if you’re struggling to express or make sense of how you’re feeling, doing so creatively can help you understand your current emotional state. There are so many ways to do this: Journaling everything that flows into your head can help release your self-natter on to paper to create some personal distance and a new perspective. Drawing or painting an image that represents how you feel, for your eyes only. Writing down a list of things that no longer serving you and burning it – this can be very powerful! Music, movement, sound-making, and more.
Pay it Forward – sometimes the best way to cheer yourself up, is by making someone else happy. Our true nature is one of compassionate and love – making someone’s day make ours, there’s no question about it. Paying for someone’s coffee, giving up your seat on the train, carrying someone’s shopping – whatever it is, a random act of kindness is infectious, and it won’t just brighten up someone else’s day, it will brighten up yours too.
Self Care – remember, you cannot serve from an empty vessel. Do something that makes you happy and makes you feel more you. Do something that nourishes your soul.
Stay Positive – expressing gratitude is a powerful way maintain a positive mindset. Practicing mindfulness, focusing on the good and listing things you’re grateful for (instead of what’s upsetting you) are all powerful ways to improve your mood. Moods change like the weather, focus on the good.
You are the sky and everything else is just weather.
Be kind to yourself this Monday and remember to always, always – handle with care.
The joy of Blue Monday is the reminder that it’s okay to not be okay. It opens up a conversation about mental health and forces us to consider: what are we doing to care for ourselves?
Useful websites and helplines:
Mind open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
Samaritans offers a 24hr listening service, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25 on 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org