Blue Monday is back today, January 20th, 2020.
In case you do not know, Blue Monday is the term given to the one day of the year when Brits are supposedly the most miserable, and it falls in January.
This reminds me of my personal experience, and how I used to have a very complicated relationship with Mondays.
I am not overly proud to say, I had been living the 24/7 working life ever since I started writing as a journalist at University.
When I used to do shift work, weekends were not a thing, so Mondays were just another day.
When I got a full-time job in marketing over 8 years ago, I had little time to write.
That meant Saturdays and Sundays were often spent working on articles.
When I started my own business, Monday became a reminder I did not have a weekend off since (insert number of weekends).
Should we really be upset with Mondays? Or Sundays? Or maybe the poor Fridays?
As cheesy as it sounds, the way we tackle the day can only be controlled by us and the kind of associations we carry.
There are 52 Mondays, so we might as well do something productive with them.
After all, Monday did not do anything to you. Don’t be so upset about it.
What is Blue Monday anyway?
Whilst it’s been around for a number of years now, Blue Monday is more than just a hashtag — it’s the result of an actual formula thought up by a psychologist.
More than a decade ago, psychologist and life coach Dr. Cliff Arnall coined the term Blue Monday through a very specific formula that takes into account variables such as weather conditions, debt, the end of Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions and general low motivation levels.
- W = weather
- D = debt
- d = monthly salary
- T = time since Christmas
- Q = time since failing our new year’s resolutions
- M = low motivational levels
- Na = the feeling of a need to take action
Arnall has since confessed that the formula is essentially pseudoscience and has urged Brits to “refute the whole notion” of Blue Monday.
Now, you could say that this is total BS (I mean, even Arnall admits he may have gone a bit too far), however, it still taps into the idea that so many of us struggle massively with holiday blues after a long vacation.
Despite inventing what is quite possibly the most depressing formula in the world, Dr Arnall encourages people to at least try to look on the bright side of life this Blue Monday:
“Whether embarking on a new career, meeting new friends, taking up a new hobby or booking a new adventure, January is actually a great time to make those big decisions for the year ahead.”
Is there any scientific evidence behind Blue Monday? Nope.
Still, don’t shoot the messenger, dear reader.
I personally am not a fan of the term, as I believe it stigmatises the day and puts even more pressure on us.
Charity Mind wrote a statement in regards to Blue Monday on their website reading:
“Here at Mind, we think Blue Monday is dangerously misleading. Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date. Implying that they are perpetuates the myth that depression is ‘just feeling a bit down,’ something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.”
Yet, there is some truth in the fact that January can be tough for so many people.
Each struggle can teach you something
“Learn from failure. If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasn’t a success, welcome to the club!” — Richard Branson
I’ve learned more from my struggles than I ever have from my successes.
When you struggle, you learn what doesn’t work, which is just as important as knowing what does work. These lessons are what can truly make you progress as a person, and support you. There is so much value to be found and lessons to be learned when you are not at your best.
Question prompt: what can you learn from one of your most recent struggles? How will you act upon it?
Failure makes you stronger
Failure can often be confused with fear. We usually overestimate the devastation that failure will cause, and fear of the feeling of failure usually is worse than the failure itself.
What if, instead, failures could make you stronger?
if you can make it through failure and charge forward, you strengthen your ability to persevere and show you that truly you are not ready to give up. Challenge your goals and limits by being bold and trying something new and unexpected.
Just because you’ve failed at something doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a person — remember, your own worth should not be reflective of your choice to try something and get yourself out there. If anything, you should applaud your own brave for you trying and not giving up.
Do you think it’s just you and me, not getting everything right the first time?
Director Alfred Hitchcock shot the infamous shower scene in Psycho 78 times to get that moment just right.
Let’s be honest: the scene itself seems quite simple and straight-forward. Nevertheless, to make it stick and become an icon of what tension is and has been in cinematic history Alfred Hitchcock did not just settle for something that looked “okay”.
As much as we can see this as sheer perfectionism, there is something about this example that also proves that most of what you do won’t be perfect, great, or even effective the first time you try it.
Question prompt: which goal can you set to challenge you and strengthen you for the future?
The power of reframing
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” — William James
Maybe you could look at Mondays as a blessing.
Mondays (including Blue Monday) could be the reset button we need to get one step closer to one single goal.
For so many people, finding motivation every week is an ongoing challenge, as it’s important that we all do more to self-care for our mental health in the way we look after our physical health, without stressing about it.
Risking to sound corny here, but every day we wake up is an opportunity to do what we did not do before.
Remember, each day is a day that you have never seen. It is a day to do something great.
It is a day to tackle with awe and curiosity for what’s next.
I no longer peel myself off the bed on Mondays dreading the early start. Yes, I will get the trusty aid of my coffee to kick off the week, yet I have learned to take each beginning as a new opportunity.
The magic in that is simply priceless.