Experts have often stated that this time of the year is the most depressing due to a combination of factors – darker, colder weather, failed New Years resolutions and the cost of bills in the winter months after an expensive Christmas can be a real strain. “Blue Monday”, thought to be the most depressing day of the year, happens on the third money of January, when these issues come to a peak. The name was first coined in 2004 by psychologist Cliff Arnall. There are often many stories in the media at this time of year about Blue Monday and how to overcome it.
However, many mental health experts dislike the idea of pinpointing one day of the year. However, it can be comforting to know that many others find this time of year difficult. In fact, there are many people who use the beginning of a new year to start a new chapter and rewrite old narratives that have caused distress in the past. They approach the new year with renewed vigour and passion for life.
There is little proof that this day of the year is the most depressing and the psychologist who first spoke about it was working for a company who wanted to sell winter holidays! However, the idea of Blue Monday can put pressure on those who do have mental health struggles and can raise anxiety about getting through it. So although we know that this time of year has its unique difficulties due to the shorter days, financial pressures, etc it is just another day and this label is not based on any scientific proof.
It does get people to talk about mental health though, which is always a good thing. In fact, the Samaritans have proposed changing the name to “Brew Monday” to encourage people to talk to others about their mental health over a cup of tea.
If you are finding this year difficult, it may be helpful to use this time of year to make a positive change in your life, taking up a new hobby or planning an activity or holiday with friends. It is also a great time of year to look at starting new habits that can have a positive effect on your mental health like journalling, starting a gratitude diary or engaging in mindfulness.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly handed and a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home“