So today is Blue Monday. The 3rd Monday in January which is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, but where did this idea come from? Well a bit of research reveals that a travel company created it back in 2005/2006 to sell summer holidays based on a calculation they came up with. It escalated and now we have many other companies following suit selling or promoting their products aimed at improving our mental well-being and that ‘feel-good’ factor.
Yes, there will be a feeling of overspend and debt after the Christmas splurge or feelings of failure as a parent due to lack of money. Yes, there will be a feeling of reduced health thanks to our over-indulgence of rich food and alcohol for some whilst other will experience disappointment at the lack of food. Yes, the weather is cold damp and miserable with germs abound and making things more challenging for those already coping with various illnesses. But whilst all of the above can admittedly have a negative impact on our mental well-being, for those affected by mental health issues, every day can be a blue day. It is not formula driven, it is not to be trivialised and it is not to be ignored.
Thankfully there is a flip-side to Blue Monday whereby people realising this is a myth, are working towards increasing awareness and importance of mental well-being and reducing the stigma surrounding those who suffer on a day-to-day basis. The ethos of “Don’t judge me until you have walked in my shoes” is so true…I know from experience…so today should be an opportunity to find positives in our challenging environment.
So, what can YOU do?
Positive opportunities are all around us; it’s a question of choice on our part on whether we act upon what we see. Grand gestures are great, but to someone in need of our understanding, it’s the simple things that mean the most. A few moments of your time being compassionate, caring, and empathetic is nothing compared to the lasting feelings of gratitude you will leave in someone’s heart. So, whether you offer to carry someone’s shopping to their car, take a few minutes to chat with an elderly neighbour, ask someone how they feel and really take the time to listen, or ask that mum with the two kids and the crying baby in the queue if there’s anything you can do to help for a few minutes because you’ve been in that situation…. you can make the difference between a blue day and a better day. We all have it within us to help make everyday a better day.