Is it Really a Blue Monday Or Just a Nice Song?
We continuously get reminders from Moonpig or Clintons throughout the year that it's Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, or your neighbour's sister, Mary's dog's cousin's owner's Bar Mitzva!
We then go on grumbling that these are just part of a plot by the card, flower, and chocolate people to drum up business. They want to sell more cards, chocolates, flowers, and those cute little teddy bears offering a huge cuddle. In the supreme words of Dara O'Briain, 'Saying it's a thing, doesn't make it a thing!'
Sadly, Dara is wrong, and it seems that it does make it a thing. For those in the know, M&M World would undoubtedly disagree with Dara.
This Monday, the third Monday of the year, has been deemed 'Blue Monday.' Making no reference to the band New Order, this day of sadness has somehow been worked out as the 'gloomiest day of the year'.
Yes, as the song says, someone told me how should I feel!
Mental Health All Year Around
Mental health issues, depression, and suicide are all elements that have been the everyday norm in our lives. This is more in the forefront of our minds since the pandemic and numerous lockdowns, along with the restrictions we have had to endure through 2020 and 2021.
Do we pop out today and buy cards for someone we see struggling? Should we buy a cutesy teddy, a bar of chocolate, or offer a hug? Today?
Well. OK, why not? I, for one, would never say no to a bar of chocolate or a hug, but why just today? Yes, every guy's argument against Valentine's Day; I can tell you I love you any day, not just today. We don't know each other's struggles, their pain, or the journeys they are going through. Not today, not tomorrow, not in 6-month's time. We should always be kind to each other. We should consider their personal struggles whenever we deal with other people. Yes, no matter how trying they can sometimes appear to be at first glance.
And all the more during winter's gloom, post-Christmas blues, lacking money, the longest month of the calendar! Be kind. So now let me tell you of a small controversy.
Saying Something is a Thing Doesn't Make it a Thing
Blue Monday was never actually a thing. At least not before 2005. Yes, this time, the travel industry was trying to convince us to go and buy, buy, buy. 2005 saw Sky Travel come up with the (brilliant) advertising campaign to beat the winter blues.
Why spend January in dreary, wet Britain? Go off and jet set to somewhere warm and sunny. Hey, I'm sold on this. They even came up with a couple of convoluted equations to show the science!
And behold, Blue Monday popped into existence.
Dealing with the Blues
We can do a few reasonably simple things to help us through the darker days of Winter and protect us from Blue Monday, Terrible Tuesday, Wonky Wednesday (I am trying to keep it professional), and Thudding Thursday. You get the picture.
First and foremost, we can talk with someone we know and trust. Remembering the old adage, 'A problem shared', talk about how you feel and what help you might need. Your friend doesn't need to come up with an answer. Or friends that we are talking with; don't feel you have to have the answers. Nobody wants a fixer all the time. Just listening and being there for someone is often the best thing.
As I often say to people, keeping active can significantly affect how you feel. I make sure I go for a wee stroll each evening just to take in the air. I might have already done a run or workout, but the walk helps break the day. For me working at home, it breaks up my home space. For 8-hours it was my office. If I go for a stroll, I get the decompress from the day, and return home to treat it like a home rather than still my office.
If you can, go for a run, a bike ride, or work out with an online personal trainer. There are plenty of free resources online that you can check out.
See that you are eating well. You don't have to go all health food and nerdy about a good and wholesome diet but cut out the rubbish, reduce the fast food if you can. Reduce alcohol consumption for a while. Again, I'm not suggesting becoming tea-total, but a break from booze can work wonders, and your liver will thank you as it cleans itself out.
Yes, your liver is pretty efficient at self-healing (in most cases, although damage from over-abuse can be beyond some people's livers). It can then spend this time detoxing your body rather than breaking down the alcohol. Our body is built with its own detox machine; we don't need these expensive detox mixes and diets.
Get more sleep! It's so easy to stay up late watching TV for its sake. I recently discovered that I don't need to keep watching repeats of 'Family Guy' until the wee hours. I have actually seen my sleep improve, my energy n the day increase, and I even have some great dreams nowadays. Sleep rocks!
Blue Monday Forever!
So I am not 'celebrating' Blue Monday as such, but I will encourage mental health and support the struggling.
Just because it's not really a thing, there's no need to be mean about it.
In the meantime, I'm off to listen to some New Order.
If you want to know more about mental health, please visit Mind, the mental health charity: https://www.mind.org.uk/.
I feel the need to share Dara's bit about saying it's a thing, courtesy of the BBC:
And of course, here is the real Blue Monday, care of New Order