The Origins of Blue Monday
The concept of Blue Monday was first publicised by a tutor at Cardiff University by the name of Cliff Arnall. Arnall calculated that the most depressing time of the year was the third Monday of January, using a number of contributory factors to come to this conclusion.
He worked out that, by this stage, many people had failed in their New Year’s resolutions, were feeling the pinch after a festive splurge and were generally pining for the happier times of Christmas. Of course, the cold and wet weather doesn’t’ help and the knowledge that much of your January pay check would be going towards paying down the debt accrued over the holidays.
Initially, Arnall’s findings were seized upon by a travel company who tried to convince people that the best way out of the slump was to book holiday.
The day has come to represent a day of doom and gloom, but far from wallowing in the despair, Blue Monday actually represents a great opportunity.
How to Use Blue Monday as Your New ‘New Year’
Let’s face it, the days immediately after 1st January rarely actually feel like a new start. Many of us still have our Christmas decorations up and there’s probably still a good deal of festive food and drink about. We may have tucked the credit or debit card away to avoid temptation, but there are still other things to test our resolve.
So, it’s no wonder we struggle to stick to resolutions in the opening days and weeks of the year. Then Blue Monday comes along and the despair descends.
However, rather than allow it to drag us down, we can accept it as a second chance to address three big areas of health in our lives – mental, physical and financial.
With Christmas behind us and the joy of meeting friends and family and exchanging gifts fading, this is the time of year when we are most likely to suffer from mental health problems. For many people who already have issues, getting through Christmas can be a challenge and the latter part of January can be tough.
There is the temptation to shut ourselves away from the world at this time of year, but simply reaching out to a friend or a family member for a chat can be enough to stop us sliding into a slump.
Seeking help is the first step to better mental health and if you feel you have no-one to turn to, there are a number of confidential counselling services available.
Stepping on the scales after a season of excess may fill you with dread, but addressing your physical health doesn’t mean you’re all of a sudden going to be training for a triathlon.
Getting your step count up is the, pardon the pun, the first step on the way to better physical health. Going for a walk, and gradually increasing the pace until you eventually are able to jog can be a good way to start. By the time Blue Monday rolls around, we can all feel a bit sluggish so using it as your starting point to get moving can be very effective.
One of the main reasons for Blue Monday falling when it does is because many people have not yet been paid for January and their December salary has all but gone. Lump onto that the arrival of credit card bills, and the pressure to pay them off before the interest piles up.
However, the day can also mark the starting point for taking control of your finances and starting the year with a clean slate. Of course, you will have that debt to contend with, but facing up to it and drawing up realistic budgets and payment plans can make you feel better and start to lift you out of the gloom.
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