It’s not really Blue Monday!

17 January 2022 | Becs Mansfield

Today is supposedly Blue Monday, what they call the most depressing day of the year. Every year I’m aware I’m being told it’s “Blue Monday”, in other words today I should feel terrible. I’ve decided to write this article because I want to say:

Blue Monday is a load of rubbish.

Let’s start where Blue Monday comes from. I’ve done some digging (2 second Google search) and found the concept was first published in 2005. The “most depressing day of the year” was calculated using an equation that takes into account factors such as weather conditions, debt level (taking into account days since last payday), time since Christmas, time since new year’s resolutions have been broken, low motivation levels and the feeling of a need to take action. The formula was interestingly created for a holiday company to calculate the best day to book a summer holiday…

There are many reasons why January can be a challenging month – or why any month can be challenging. But every year the media tells us the third Monday of the year is the most depressing day of the year. And I worry it’s damaging. In particular for people struggling with their mental wellbeing – telling anxious or depressed people they should expect to feel more low than usual.

It’s all in the message

Each year brands play on this message – using the idea everyone will have a “bad” day – as an opportunity to sell more stuff. I work in advertising so I can’t go on and say all advertising is manipulative and wrong. I do think brands have a social responsibility and pushing people into thinking they should be more sad / anxious / depressed is far from progressive – and ultimately socially irresponsible. Instead brands should be communicating positive messaging – but that’s a conversation for another day…

At beanddo we’ve started the year being gentle with ourselves. It’s all too easy to get carried away with the “new year, new you” messaging. But this stuff is all made up. Society has told us that January is the time to change, set lots of goals and be the best version of you. This can make us feel overwhelmed. We’re told we should make new year’s resolutions – and if we don’t stick to them we have failed. And if we don’t start them on 1st January we have failed. Again, this is all made up stuff. There’s no wonder why, if like me, you’ve started the new year feeling overwhelmed.

Be kind to yourself

It’s now a couple of weeks into the new year, that is all. If you’ve had a slow start to the year – then accept it fully. If you need some more days, have some more – maybe be as lazy as you can possibly be? And when you’re feeling ready, you can start setting your intentions for the year ahead – if you like. We have the rest of the year to “do”, so what’s so wrong with starting a little bit later?

If like me you’ve starting this year feeling a bit overwhelmed, be king to yourself. Trust that you will feel ready, and you just need to go at your own pace. Maybe breaking down long term goals or future visions, into small realistic steps – only if that feels right for you.

Don’t restrict your options

Some people may thrive from setting goals such as Yoganuary, or Veganuary, or Dry January. But what if you set intentions that weren’t so restrictive, that you were more likely to continue? For me this month I’ve simply made a list of all the things that give me joy and light me up! And I’ll be using this January to do more of these things daily, when it feels right for me. And that’s enough for now. And I’m likely to continue this positive habit in the months to come.

What I’m talking about here is learning to be intuitive with what you need. Not getting pulled into what the media / social media and the people around us are saying. We don’t need to listen to the outside noise telling us about “new year’s resolutions” and “Blue Monday”. And this is where Modern Meditation comes in.

Be aware of how you really feel

Through meditation we can learn to slow down, relax and turn our attention inwards. We can start this new year feeling connected to our mind and body – being aware of how we really feel, so we can use this intuition and insight to set intentions for the year ahead. We stop looking outside of ourselves and start to experience our own inner resourse – YOU.

In beanddo group sessions we’ve been discussing connecting to nature, connecting to the seasons. We’re in Winter, a time of hibernation and rest. This is the time to pause, to rest and reflect – to just “be”. We can use the short days and long nights to slow down – and quietly bring our attention inwards, becoming aware of our needs and desires. In meditation practice we become aware nothing is permanent, everything changes. The days are slowly getting longer, and Spring will arrive. We can be aware of this natural cycle when we’re not feeling full of energy and be patient.

All of us have the opportunity to pause and simply “be” for some moments a day, whilst the rest of the world is running around “doing.”

Find out more about upgrading the way you think, feel and act in the world:

Learn more about the beanddo Modern Meditation techniques here that will help you strengthen your attention skills

Join Modern Meditation Coach Becs for her special online  course to help you create positive habits.

Join Mick, Becs and the rest the  beanddo family every Monday morning for a live online Modern Meditation session.