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  • Gareth Ellis

Get Talking on 'Blue Monday'

Today is Blue Monday – or so we’re led to believe.

The third Monday of January has been referred to as just that since 2005, and in my opinion it’s a load of crap – not the feeling but the reasoning behind it. In 2005 a travel company launched the ‘day’ as a way to sell holidays to beat the January blues.

It was dreamed up by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnell, who determined that a number of factors equated to the most depressing time of the year. He took into account a number of factors including the weather, debt (from Christmas), the fact that you may have blown your resolutions already, and low motivational levels.

And yes, they may be significant factors behind people feeling low but they shouldn’t be used as a promotional tool but rather one to get people talking about their feelings, supporting them to feel better about things.

I know first-hand how negative emotions can affect you, and how talking about things can have a positive impact on your mental health.

Over the years I have struggled at times with my mental health. I have worked through periods of stress (once being signed off work because of it.)

Just recently, I was finding things tough, worried about money, the kids being poorly, lack of work and pressures on me as a freelancer. Although I tried my best to hide away from it, I found the best things happened when I admitted ‘defeat’ and opened up – telling people that I was struggling.

The thing is, if you don’t tell people that you need them then they will never know to be there for you (I also realise this is easier said than done.)

That is why, rather than giving any credence to ‘Blue Monday’ we should be throwing our support behind the Samaritans’ ‘Brew Monday’ campaign.

It encourages people to do the British thing of getting the kettle on, having a cuppa and talking about things that are bothering them – promoting the concept that a date in a diary shouldn’t dictate how we feel.

And I agree with that concept. Feelings will fluctuate throughout the year, so we shouldn’t be told when we can feel at our worst. I can’t imagine telling someone, ‘just wait 24 hours, mate, it’s still Sunday, tell me again on Blue Monday.’ A complete load of tosh.

My other major gripe is the fact that retailers will use the day to sell more products. Just today I had an email from a deliverer of fast food, who encouraged me to ‘buy myself a treat.’ If the concept of Blue Monday is based on people feeling sad because they’re in debt then tempting them into spending money is the worst thing you can do, surely.

January is a time to make plans for the coming year. It’s a time to reflect and then push forward in the new year to make that particular one your best, not buy yourself a new top and a takeaway. Hey, you’re in debt, but you’ll look nice and be full of yummy food and drink. Pfft. Don’t make me laugh.

Or do, it’s ‘Blue Monday’ after all.

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