Did you know that every year on the third Monday in January is Blue Monday?
According to National Today, “the meaning of this day is filled with controversy because it is supposedly the saddest day of the year. Many of us find ourselves in subzero weather this time of year, looking at our post-Christmas credit card bills and realizing we might already be breaking our new year’s resolutions.”
Sky Travel, a British travel company, released a PR stunt promoting Blue Monday in 2005. “Citing psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, a formula pointing to the third Monday in January described the day as being the gloomiest of the year,” explains National Today. Evidently, this equation comes up with a precise calculation of the most depressing day of the year.
Many factors affect Anall's formula, including the weather that could cause SAD, debt levels, the time after Christmas and new year's resolutions, and a lack of motivation.
Since its release, this concept has been the subject of heated debates. In some circles, this theory makes sense. But in reality, it’s considered pseudoscience by some experts. “The science behind the formula is frequently questioned and highly scrutinized for possibly trivializing depression,” they add. In fact, Dr. Dean Burnett, a colleague with Arnall commented, “There is no such thing as a 24-hour depression.”
Despite this debate, most of us dread Mondays -- regardless of the time of year. In fact, a survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 66% of professionals have experienced the "Sunday Scaries." Additionally, 41% reported that this has been made worse by the pandemic.
Thankfully, there are ways to overcome the “Monday Blues.”
1. Keep up with your routines.
We often abandon all of our normal eating, sleeping, and exercising habits on Friday afternoon. As a result, Monday mornings can be trying. This is especially true if you’ve disrupted your sleep schedule or overindulged in richer foods or alcohol.
Don't worry, though, you can still enjoy yourself on the weekend. However, maintain a balance that allows you to relax while still taking care of your major responsibilities. In other words, don’t overdo it just because it’s the weekend.
2. Don’t live for the weekends.
People who are stressed at work are often happier on the weekends. However, you shouldn’t just look forward to weekend days. Instead, utilize all 7-days of the week. Examples include going to the movies, grabbing coffee with a friend, or having a family game night.
Whatever you choose to do, plan something you’re looking forward to throughout the week so that each day counts.
3. Set an intention.
With winter here, take the time to set an intention for the day. You can use any phrase or mantra that you feel helps to calm your mind as an intention. For example, "I look forward to a peaceful day," or "I'm grateful for my family and friends.".
4. Write out your fears.
“I recommend individuals sit down and write out what they’re dreading within their week,” said Jennifer Silvershein, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist at Manhattan Wellness. “Typically, once we write out our fears and concerns, they feel smaller and more manageable.”
According to University of Rochester Medical Center researchers, journaling can help you reduce stress, manage anxiety, and cope with depression.
5. Plan a vacation.
Time and again, studies have shown that hope comes from having something to look forward to, adds National Today. As humans, we spend a great deal of our mental energy imagining what the future will hold. That's why discussing future plans can also be useful for improving social relationships.
Starting your next vacation planning on the third Monday in January seems like a good idea during the dead of winter.
6. Reinvent Mondays.
The first day of the week should not be dedicated to big projects -- or those that you dread. Instead, do your concentrated work on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Take advantage of Monday to sort through your emails and plan the rest of your week. And, consider saving all of your busy work or easy tasks, such as making copies, arranging travel plans, and reviewing invoices, for Monday morning.
Another idea? Spend the first 30 minutes of Monday morning listing your achievements and goals.
7. Work out for a few minutes.
Even 10 minutes of high-intensity training can help you to feel more energized. Also, you can go for a brisk walk. It’s been found that spending time in nature can improve mood, mental health, and emotional well-being.
8. Count your blessings.
What’s the perfect way to end your weekend? With gratitude for the week ahead. According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.”
“Before you go to sleep, identify three positive aspects about your job or day ahead,” said aid Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist, performance coach and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.” “Drift off to sleep looking forward to what you like about your job, rather than dreading what you don’t like.”
9. Take it easy on Sundays.
Don’t overschedule yourself on Sundays. Rather, spend the day relaxing, engaging in self-care, or doing activities that you enjoy. It’s also recommended that you spend Sundays preparing for the week, like planning your meals or laying out your clothes.
These simple acts can make Monday morning less hectic. And, it may also get you excited about the week ahead.
10. Know when it’s more than just blues.
You might have depression if your Monday blues begin to turn into Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday blues.
Generally, speaking Monday blues will decrease as the week progresses. Clinical depression, however, can last for an extended period of time. In most cases, this involves a persistently depressed mood and a loss of interest in activities, which substantially affects daily functioning. It can also be accompanied by chronic hopelessness, irritability, restlessness, and sleeplessness.
Although it's normal to feel dread about Monday now and then, if your anxiety is excessive or affecting other aspects of your life, it may be time to seek professional assistance.