• Colleen Lennon, LCSW

Blue Monday

Have you heard of Blue Monday?

It is the saddest or most depressing day of the year and usually falls on the third Monday of the new year, which in 2017 is Monday, January 16th. Per Wikipedia, “The concept was first publicized as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation.” This equation took into account Monday being considered as the worst day of the week since many dread having to return to work, the weather, debt and monthly salary, time since Christmas, the timing of New Year’s resolutions failing, low motivational levels, and the feeling of an urgency to take action.

So, what can you do to beat Blue Monday or even lower moods during the start of the year and winter months? Below are some helpful tips and treatments to try.

  1. Keep up healthy habits. Continue to eat right, get enough sleep, drink enough water, exercise, etc. All of these healthy habits can help to increase your mood and decrease stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Make sure you are sleeping enough, taking time for yourself, eating right, and doing whatever it is that helps you to recharge and be your best self.

  2. Create and stick to budgets. The impact from the holidays, gifts, New Year’s celebrations, etc. can all add up and cause stress and anxiety. Before it becomes overwhelming, create new budgets and spending habits to pay off your debt from the holidays and festivities.

  3. Take Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a supplement which is often low during the winter months due to the decrease in exposure to light. Try adding a daily supplement (talk to your doctor before taking any new drugs or supplements to make sure they are safe for you).

  4. Make plans and engage in activities you like. Having something to look forward to or participating in an activity you enjoy can help to keep your mood up. Make plans with friends and family, volunteer, take a class, go on a vacation, try a new hobby or workout, read a book you have always wanted to read, see a movie or show, etc. Find something that interests you or lifts your spirits and do that, and do it often.

  5. Be flexible or reassess your New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are not set in stone or unable to be changed or altered. If you have already “failed” your resolution, that is okay, don’t give up but rather reassess the situations and set a new, more realistic and achievable resolution. Maybe the original resolution is no longer relevant, there are different ways to achieve it, or the parameters can be altered. Whatever the case may be, it is important to go into the process with the mindset that anything can be changed, tweaked, or altered without the sense of failure.

  6. Try therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Light therapy are often recommended to help with seasonal major depression. CBT is a form of talk therapy that focuses on changing negative thought and behavioral patterns into more positive ones in attempts to decrease the symptoms of depression associated with the negative thoughts or behaviors. Light therapy is a form of therapy in which the individual is exposed to bright light by using a light box in an attempt to mimic the effects of natural sunlight.

Don’t let Blue Monday, the weather, debt, resolutions, or any other factor in the aforementioned equation get you down. Hopefully with these tips and treatments, you will be able to improve your mood and enjoy the new year.

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