After a December packed with gifts, get-togethers, strong emotions, and deserved vacation comes the great January hump, the “post-Christmas hangover”. The cold and rainy weather really sets in, with its ensuing flus and colds. Moreover, our bank account bears the effects of holiday shopping sprees, and New Year’s resolutions seem to falter. So, if Monday is already in and of itself the day of the week requiring most effort and willpower of us, it happens that today, Monday the 21st of January, we’ll need more still. It seems that all the above mentioned factors come to a head today, on Blue Monday or the saddest day of the year.
Hearkening back to its origins
In 2005, 14 years ago, psychologist and Cardiff University researcher Cliff Arnal concluded on the basis of a mathematical formula that the third Monday of January is the saddest day of the year. “How?” you might ask. This mathematical formula, rather controversial by the way, takes several variables into account:
1/8C+(D-d) 3/8xTI MxNA
Each letter represents a determining factor. “C” refers to the climate; “D” to holiday debts; “d” to January’s salary; and “T” to the time transpired since the end of the Christmas holidays. The letter “I” is the time transpired since the last failed attempt at correcting a bad habit (for instance, eating healthier); “M” alludes to motivation; and lastly the letters “NA” stand for the “need to act” in order for our life to change.
A formula that’s more marketing than math, the study that came up with it was financed by the Sky Travel company, who used it in their advertising campaigns to drive sales.
To make it through the saddest day of the year
In light of the above, how can we forget about this nomenclature and turn our Monday into a bright and tranquil day like any other? Jot down the following recommendations and keep them handy to follow them each day:
- Enjoy some good music
Everyone has those favorite songs that wield a supernatural power: tunes and lyrics that put us in a good mood, lift our spirits, and make any moment better. Draw up your best playlist and enjoy it wherever you may find yourself on Blue Monday. Besides, that way you’ll already have it ready and at hand for whenever you want or need it.
- It’s always good to smile
Many studies have been conducted regarding the power of laughter and smiling in humans. So smile more, even if you don’t feel like it: it’s a proven fact that the way we communicate through our body language affects our own mood. Similarly, if you make a habit of keeping good posture with your head facing forward you’ll feel better emotionally, too.
- Devote time to yourself
Whether it be visiting that museum, meeting friends for tapas, or making something cool with the latest version of Photoshop, what matters is that you have a good time and are able to chill out. Investing time in our own person is essential for feeling at ease with ourselves.
- Permeate your home with the smell of a rich chocolate cake
The Renssealer Polytechnic institute of the city of Troy proved through a study that placed people near cinnamon rolls and other pastries that sweet scents put us in a good mood. Some foods can have an influence on serotonin in our body.
- Do a bit of exercise
We’re sorry to bring up what will for some be a sore spot as advice for improving your day, but the truth of the matter is that any sport you practice will release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins—all beneficial to your mood. If what you want is for the saddest day of the year to fly by, get outside and go for a good run in the sun, really let that punching bag have it, or stretch your body out with some yoga to relax your mind. But be sure to bundle up, it’s really cold out.
- Organize something, and if it’s a trip, all the better
That buying travel tickets puts us in a good mood and motivates us is undeniable. Therefore, this Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year, could be the perfect moment to plan a trip to the capital of India. And if your budget can’t handle such an escapade, roll up your sleeves and organize something that you can really get excited about.
Above all, remember that a calendar date in itself can’t depress you, and that nothing can ruin your Monday unless you let it. Forget about the name Blue Monday, it’s nothing more than a marketing myth to drive sales, and enjoy the start of the week.
Grab your week by the horns!