In 2005, British academic Cliff Arnall claimed that Blue Monday, the third Monday of January, could be the most depressing day of the year, as anxieties replace holiday cheer and winter drags on.
The science is sketchy but mental health charities have thrown themselves behind a campaign to highlight the threat of depression on this day. And while the following are not cures for a clinical condition, they may just brighten your day.
Dress differently, and excitingly
A starburst of color can give us a lift, say Mental Health Research UK. “Plenty of research links mood and color,” says charity trustee Dr. Laura Davidson, who wants to challenge “the perception that wearing dark colors in the workplace equates to professionalism.” If nothing else, an outbreak of orange should encourage debate about the subject.
Small acts of kindness
A recent Blue Monday initiative involved communities passing on small favors among its members, and nominating a local hero for a prize. It is hoped the concept builds relationships as well as individual self-esteem.
Forgive your fiscal fecklessness
Credit card debt mounts over Christmas. This can be difficult to face and a leading cause of anxiety. Financial advisers suggest a good first step is to accept the situation, being open and honest about it with yourself and family, ahead of planning to address it.
Don’t go to work
An international petition with several thousand signatures has called on governments to make Blue Monday a public holiday. A separate campaign encourages employers to make it a rest day. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Think of next Monday
A similar formula suggests the fourth Monday of the New Year is a happy one, as we begin to sense the renewal of spring and move on from our painful excesses. It often follows the first payday, so we can start the whole cycle again.