#SootheMonday not Blue Monday

So-called “Blue Monday” is here once again.

We want to make you aware of the myth around this day. We also want to encourage you to give yourself permission to have another kind of day, rather than Blue Monday. We’re encouraging you to have a Soothe Monday.

We are led to believe that this day – 18th January 2021 – is the most depressing day of the year.

But, is any of this Blue Monday stuff true?

Origin

In 2005, psychologist Cliff Arnall was approached to come up with a scientific formula for holiday company Sky Travel, as part of a PR campaign for the firm:

This might look intimidating but we’ll try and talk you through it: W = Weather, d = debt, T = Time since Christmas, Q = Time since failing our New Year’s Resolutions, M = low motivational levels and Na = the feeling of a need to take action. Struggling to keep up? Don’t worry. ‘D’ is not even defined in the release. Unsurprisingly there is nothing scientific about this formula. And it’s probably worth remembering that there was, somewhere in the equation, a financial incentive to rubber stamp this date.

Of course, any science behind Blue Monday has long since been debunked. But the themes behind the day remain in the public consciousness as they can tap into a feeling of general post-Christmas malaise.

Here we think it’s worthwhile to separate out the myths from the reality. We know January is a time for New Year’s Resolutions but please don’t be too hard on yourself. Take your time as you take your initial steps into a new year. As they say, it’s a marathon, not a race.

This year more than any, we need to make sure that we are looking after ourselves and others. With 2020 fading in the rear view mirror, as a nation we are on a collective road to recovery; albeit a windy one. But, there is hope. Unprecedented advances in science have presented us with several proven vaccines for COVID-19, and a UK-wide roll out is currently underway, with millions of vulnerable people having been offered the jab already.

It’s important to remember that we shouldn’t focus our feelings into a single day. Blue Monday shouldn’t be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy, where as a nation, we collectively feel blue for 24 hours, then the next day carry on as we were. Mental health issues, feeling down, depressed, anxious or having thoughts of suicide, are very real and valid feelings for many people year-round. By confining these thoughts and feelings to a single day, we run the risk of trivialising the experiences of many.

Instead, we want to encourage everyone to have a Soothe Monday. Take today to check in with yourself and others, and practise self care – whether that be going out for a walk, phoning a friend, or binge-watching Disney+, do whatever makes you feel good today.

Here are some tips for how to have a #SootheMonday:

  • Instead of holding yourself to grand goals, maybe look at aiming for achievable goals like reading more, listening to more music or getting outdoors when you can.
  • You could try and spend less time on social media (or spend your time on there a little better by seeking out positive or informative content).
  • Look at January as a month to transition into a new year, and ease yourself into any positive habits or routines you might want to start.
  • Equally, don’t set any unrealistic goals while it’s so cold and dark – sometime things are just more achievable when the nights get lighter and the weather picks up.
  • Look at ways of soothing yourself if you do tend to struggle at this time of year.
  • Check in with people in your support network.
  • You might still want to reflect on the previous year, its highlights and struggles, and what you want to keep with you this year, as well as what you want to leave behind.
  • As well as reflecting on the previous year, and making plans for this one, you might want to also think about the present moment. We can only be in control of one day at a time. Sometimes it can help to only think about taking control of one hour at a time, or even one minute. Sometimes that’s all we can do and that’s OK!

Labelling a normal day as the worst day in the year is not helpful, especially for those of us who suffer with our mental health. It can put a lot of pressure on people to overcome that day. But maybe we can turn that day around and see it as an opportunity to soothe ourselves, and ease ourselves into 2021.

So this Blue Monday, why not try and have a Soothe Monday. Control this day and don’t let it control you. After all, this is a useful way to approach every day of the year!

#SootheMonday

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