So, did you know that there an official “worst day of the year?” Well, there is according to some experts at least. It goes back to 2005, when Dr. Cliff Arnall calculated the most depressing day of the year.
Based on his calculations (listed below), the worst day of this year, Blue Monday, falls on Monday January 16th, 2017.
So how did Dr. Arnall figure out that this date in late January is extremely depressing? Here are his reasons:
– Post-Christmas debts are due, so our debt is the highest of the whole year
– In the northern hemisphere, weather conditions are often at their worst (gloomy, cold, and unpredictable)
– Most people have already abandoned their New Years resolutions and are back to old behaviors
– We have had time to emotionally consider that the joy of Christmas is over
– Our motivation level is low because of the cold and gloom
– We don’t have a lot to look forward to in the immediate future (very few work days off, more cold is ahead, etc)
So, theoretically, for a lot of people this is the “worst day of the year.” However, you don’t have to succumb to Blue Monday, and let me explain how to deal with each of these issues related to “Blue Monday.” Also, scroll down for a funny video about how to beat the winter blues in under 30 seconds!
Conquer Blue Monday 2017 Cold and Gloom
Even though it’s cold, try to get outside and get some sun. Bundle up and walk out that door, especially on a sunny day! Buy some thermal wicking clothes so it doesn’t feel so cold!
Since your childhood, you’ve probably heard that you can “catch a cold” from going out in the winter. This sounds logical, but the scientific truth is that most winter illness is caused by being inside too much, because it leads to the spread of germs from person-to-person much easier. I run and hike on cold days frequently, and I always feel better for it. Others agree with me, so get out.
Also, there are always sunny days in January. If you can’t get outside, go to a window, close your eyes, and face the direction of the sun. The field of vision behind your eyes will glow bright red. Scientifically, this causes a release of serotonin, the brain’s happy chemical. If you can’t get light any other way, there is evidence which suggests that indoor blue lights can improve your mood.
Avoid Racking Up Debt
Many people cover for the lack of true happiness by buying a bunch of cheap crap. If buying things in December causes you to be depressed in January, then don’t buy them. Many experts suggest getting rid of things you don’t use (de-cluttering) will actually make you happier than collecting things you never have time to enjoy.
Work on your internal attitude, and you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of external things to be happy. This is basic Buddhism 101, but other religions teach simple living free of attachments as well. A lot of people find that being around others, having friends, etc, are more meaningful than material things anyway. I’m not saying you should become a monk, just that if you’re buying more than you can afford, you need to evaluate your priorities.
Find Joys In The Moment; Plan Things To Do
Sure, Christmas has passed by Blue Monday. But…you can celebrate and have fun every single day. Find something fun to do and look forward to. Plan things that give you hope. Every day (without exception) plan something to do that you like. It can be taking a drive to see beautiful snowy scenery, getting coffee with a friend, going on a hike, going to a concert…anything.
Plan a party if you have to. I suggest getting a calendar and writing some of these things down, so you have these “hopeful” things there for you to see whenever you need a reminder of why you are happy this winter.
After a past Christmas I planned to see an old college friend in February. I looked forward to it all January, and it gave me hope I otherwise didn’t have. Another fun thing I planned recently was to take work off early and meet a friend at a local restaurant. We loved seeing each other in the afternoon. We were both a little depressed about heading back to work after Christmas, but this meeting made it more bearable.
Unfortunately, society works us up in a social frenzy near Christmas, and then everything just stops. The lights, festive music, and social gatherings not only vanish, but they vanish in a mere day. Then, things get “back to normal,” which, for most people is very depressing. This is why it is important to schedule things to look forward to. It keeps us hopeful and happy. We also offer specific tips for Post Christmas depression.
Re-Boot That Resolution
I have been a member of various YMCAs for nearly fifteen years. I’ve seen people go “all out” on January 1st, to stop everything by January 15th. In reality, something more realistic is in order. Instead of going crazy on January 1st, only to burn out two weeks later, try coming up with something more sustainable.
Also, understand that it is never too late to get back on track. If you’ve given up on your resolution, then get back today. Make a mid-winter resolution. Make a new month resolution. Call it whatever. I strongly live by the principal that “there is no failure, just feedback,” if you have the right attitude. Let your early January setbacks help you create new goals and actions starting in mid-January. And, stick with them the whole year!
Overall, the basic message here is that “Blue Monday,” the “worst day of the year” is only blue and horrible if you allow it to be. The pitfalls I’ve listed don’t have to be your reality. Besides, blue is my favorite color. Have a happy Blue Monday 2017!
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