Blue Monday, recognized on the third Monday of January (today), is known as the saddest day of the year. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians will experience mental illness in any given year, and an estimated two to three per cent of Canadians are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday was first coined by Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005 and was published as part of a press release by Sky Travel. The third Monday of January was selected as the date due to the cold weather, dark nights, debts accumulated over the holidays, and failed New Year’s resolutions. While Blue Monday was originally used to get people to book a post holiday vacation, it has since become a commonly used and recognized term.
How can you combat feeling blue?
There are a few things you can do to help mitigate the symptoms of Blue Monday, and we would like to discuss some today.
Use your network
Often, when experiencing sadness, being alone can make those feelings worse. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of your network and talk about your struggles. Reach out to family, friends, a trusted colleague, and use the resources available if you require immediate assistance or professional help.
Again, when isolated, you may feel more alone, which intensifies your emotions. As the weather is mild, and allows you to be outside safely, take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine. While it isn’t the same as enjoying the sun during the warmer weather, a change of scenery and moving your body can do wonders for your mind. According to Healthline, sunlight can often help ease symptoms like low mood and fatigue. Light therapy can also help with improving your emotional health.
With the new year arriving, you are likely bombarded with images and talk of new year’s resolutions. While there is nothing wrong with setting these, they can often be unattainable and lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy. So, rather than resolutions, set a few goals for yourself. These can be immediate goals, such as decluttering a closet, or long term goals, such as saving for a holiday. Giving yourself something to work toward will help with motivation and feeling accomplished.
When it comes to your mental health, whether it’s Blue Monday or a regular Thursday, you want to make your well-being a priority in your personal, and professional life.