January can be a great month for many different reasons, most of all that a new year has just begun that we can use to fulfill our New Year’s resolutions and achieve any number of other things we’ve decided to put our minds to. 

However, a cold, cloudy January can also be quite the comedown after the festive holiday season that preceded it, one that was filled with the very scrumptious dishes that caused us to gain the weight we’re endeavoring to lose in the first place. So, to be fair: of all the months of the year, January can be considered the bleakest of them all. And that’s what the folks at Sky Travel were getting at.

History of Blue Monday

Blue Monday was created back in 2005 by Sky Travel Shop, a television channel devoted exclusively to programs about traveling, documentaries, and commercials for travel agencies. The folks at Sky Travel named this day “Blue Monday” and called it the most depressing day of the year for a variety of reasons.

One of Sky Travel’s main claims is that Blue Monday is a calculated date from an equation. The day was originally part of a publicity campaign, but later gained popularity and its share of both supporters and opponents, and seems to generally be here to stay. 

The date varies from year to year, depending on a variety of factors, such as weather, debt, the time that has passed since Christmas day, the time that has passed since we failed at fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels connected with previous failures, and the need to take action. 

The formula for calculating which day is the “bluest” day of the year has been mocked by many academics as pseudoscience, as it does not use any specific units and does not seem to be particularly foolproof.  These people argue that there isn’t one specific day that makes you sadder than others, and there is no formula to calculate this idea. Many say that Blue Monday has particular symptoms, such as feeling down/sluggish and depressed from the colder weather and end of holiday festivities.

Nevertheless, it was published under the name of Cliff Arnall, who had at that time been a tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, a Further Education center attached to Cardiff University.

How to Celebrate Blue Monday

Pseudoscience or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a look at January with an open mind, and being honest with yourself as to what you could try your best to do better at for the remainder of the year. Failed New Year’s resolutions are very common, so if you have failed at persevering, now would be a great time to think a bit about why that is and how that could have been avoided. Next, you can create a new resolution or two and, wiser now than before, succeed at them this time around.

Think about how you managed your resolutions, and if you didn’t set yourself up for failure right off the bat by creating unrealistic expectations of yourself. Did you decide to go vegan starting January first? Going vegan is a big move, and of course an honorable one, but it is also quite challenging, especially if you were eating steaks and yogurt and sunny-side-up eggs just the day before. 

Deciding that you will suddenly cut every single animal product could be much more of a sacrifice than your body is ready to make overnight, and so you may find yourself sliding within a few days, only to feel miserable for failing. So instead of going vegan, perhaps go vegetarian for a while first to help your body get accustomed to your new eating habits.

Then, after a few months, when you feel ready, it will be time to take the next step. In short, take this day to re-plan your resolutions so you can get them right the next time around.

Rather than setting large New Year’s Resolutions, set smaller ones that are easier to achieve. Go vegetarian instead of vegan or cut out one specific animal product. Set smaller exercise goals such as aiming to work out for 30 minutes at least four times a week. Rather than trying to run a marathon, set smaller goals for running a certain amount of miles by a certain date.

Tips to Combat Blue Monday

While some believe that Blue Monday should be celebrated, others believe there is a science behind avoiding the “Blue Monday” blues. Psychologists believe that your Monday mindset controls the outcome of Blue Monday. If the day is sunny, it is recommended to go take a walk and enjoy the sunshine.

You can also go to the gym or do some form of physical exercise. These endorphins will help combat sadness and boost your mood! Even twenty to thirty minutes of activity is enough to cause a noticeable increase in your mood. 

If you need something to take your mind off of the winter weather, consider an uplifting movie. Some suggestions are Rocky, Mary Poppins, Bridesmaids, Step Brothers, or any other comedy film you enjoy!

If you’re not a movie person, consider rewatching your favorite television show or reading a chapter of your favorite book. You can also invite friends or family over if you don’t want to spend the day alone. Having the people you love around is sure to boost your spirits! 

If you prefer to spend the day alone, try to do some form of self-care. This could be anything from lighting a candle, ordering/cooking your favorite meal, calling someone you love, or taking a bath. Spend some time on yourself and use this day to refocus the rest of your year!

In conclusion, your mindset controls how your Blue Monday looks! Rather than feeling down on yourself, consider this day as a way to think about how you want the rest of your year to look. Redraft your resolutions, set smaller goals, or even indulge in self-care or have company visit. Make this Monday a day to remember and refocus!

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