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Not so "Blue Monday"


Today, the third Monday in January aside from being Martin Luther King Day is also known to many as "Blue Monday" It is suggested to be the saddest day of the year.


In 2004, Dr. Cliff Arnall came up with a formula that pointed to the this day as being the gloomiest of the year. Arnall’s formula considers many factors, including the weather at this time of year, people’s probable level of debt, time after Christmas and new year’s resolutions, generally lower motivation levels and feeling a need to take action.


But is it actually the saddest day of the year? The short answer is “no.” Arnall's calculation has been roundly rejected by the scientific and academic community. "The winter blues are a natural response to the Christmas break and festivities ending, but pathologizing such normal feelings into some form of 'acute depression' like Blue Monday is wrong," says Craig Jackson, a professor of occupational health psychology at Birmingham City University in England. "The ethics are questionable at best. There is no credible research evidence to show that Blue Monday is more depressing than any other day or even the most depressing day of the year," per an article in Live Science.


So why do we keep hearing about this day if it’s not real? Well, as Mr Jackson pointed to, the winter blues are real. .5%-3% of the general population are affected by what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a bit different from what I coined as S.A.D - Stressed, Anxious and Depressed. The difference is slight. Seasonal Affective Disorder is really a form of depression itself. The signs and symptoms are similar to those with major depression, including a loss of interest or enjoyment in activities, a decrease in energy, a depressed mood, and low self-esteem. What makes is SAD vs. major depression is that the symptoms subside in the spring and summer months.


So, with all that being said, what can one do to help from being sucked into the hype and conquer Blue Monday? Same thing they should do every day to help conquer the blues. Change your mindset. How do you do that you ask? Well, you could take an online course, get coaching or something link that. Or you can start by using these simple tips to help lift your mood:


Practice Gratitude:

Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. You’ve got to have something. Even if it is as simple as being grateful for another day, use of your extremities, use of your senses, a smile, fresh air, you get my drift….


Movement:

Sitting around watching TV or scrolling through social media can actually take a toll on you mentally and physically. So get up, stretch and move. Even if you happen to be wheelchair bound, moving your arms arm and getting outside can do you wonders.

Get Outside:

Green and Blue spaces are proven to help lift your mood. Get out, bundle up and go to a park. Listen to the sounds around you. Observe the movement of living and non-living things. Focus on your breath and just be.


Connections:

What’s this you say you’re not in a relationship, you don’t get along with your family, you don’t have any friends close by? It’s all good. Many are fortunate to have all of that, but some are not. Connecting with others is easier than you may think. You can connect with nature by simply walking in a park and practicing reciprocity. Connect with a pet by snuggling or petting them or simply smile at a stranger at the supermarket while waiting on line. These simple things can all help to lift your mood.


So, get out there, forget about the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. You have it in your power to conquer cabin fever…



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