Today in the UK, the third Monday of January is known as “Blue Monday” – apparently the most depressing day of the year. There is a calculation to work this out, but actually we all know that in the northern hemisphere this month is not the happiest for many of us. The dark days (even if getting lighter each day), it’s cold and/or wet, the bills are high, money may have to stretch a bit further – for employed people who are perhaps paid early in December, this month can seem endless.
January can be a long month after the joys of December. And as the new year starts we are bombarded by calls to renew, give up, take extreme action to change our lives. Of all the months of the year to be hard on yourself, January is really not ideal. It’s a tough month and perhaps one in which we should give ourselves a break.
Do we actually need to use a calendar change to encourage a new anything? For some it works, but not for all. And calendars are different for vast numbers of our fellow humankind. So why not choose a Spring month, when the days start to warm, the longer daylight brings about new growth on and in trees, hedges, our gardens. It’s generally a season that makes us feel renewed naturally, I suggest. Could this be a more successful time for renewal and revitalising our lives?
I propose that we choose January to be a month of being gentle with ourselves, to enjoy keeping warm and snug where possible, hot chocolate and casseroles, puddings and custard, but yes, also healthy stuff, but in an encouraging way, not in a “stop eating all the other stuff” way.
Yes, we can choose to start moving more, losing a bit of weight, give up whatever we want, but when this feels best for us, when we are feeling ready. These may not fit in with the formula for the worst day of the year, but that’s pretty much nonsense too as things are different for all of us.
How about we use this day to reach out to say “Hi” to someone, to share a smile, to watch videos of baby goats (just me?) and generally do something lovely and kind and nice and friendly. Send a note to someone on Slack, Twitter, Facebook or whatever is your platform of choice. Let’s banish Blue Monday and turn it around! Spend a little extra time on your mindfulness practice activity – I fancy some sewing of spring-like bunting (yes, really – I have a fabric stash for such times).
Now where are those doughnuts (I’m kidding – today I’m actually choosing to cut out sugar, just because this Monday works for me)…