Blue Monday generally falls on the third Monday in January, this year that means it’s January 16th, 2023. We may all be feeling more blue Monday’s than usual lately, but is Blue Monday actually a thing? To start, let’s review the history of this day and what has transpired over the years.
Did you know that there is no scientific basis for considering this day the most depressing day of the year? The origin of the day goes back to a marketing strategy deployed by a travel company in 2005 as a way to get people to travel in January! Kind of brilliant, right? Although there was an unscientific formula developed to back the theory of Blue Monday, these arbitrary variables are not only impossible to quantify but also mainly incompatible. Just for giggles, we thought we’d share that formula with you:
[W + (D – d)] X TQ / M x Na
W = weather
D = debt
d = monthly salary
T = time since Christmas
Q = time since failing our new year’s resolutions
M = low motivational levels
Na = the feeling of a need to take action
What’s your answer? Yeah, we didn’t get one either!
Now here are where the facts come into play and how we now tie Blue Monday into reality. January is notorious for people dealing with darker, colder days, feelings of loneliness, mounting bills and increased debt from after the holidays. This can impact a person’s mental health, often leaving them feeling hopeless, sad, depressed or…blue. In fact, about 5% of Canadian’s experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), with up to 15 % experiencing a milder form. And, according to Mood Disorders of Ontario, women are up to 8x more likely than men to report having SAD.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is a sub-type of depression and is also called ‘seasonal depression’, ‘winter depression’ or ‘major depression with a seasonal pattern’. If a person has recurring episodes of depression in a seasonal pattern (usually coinciding with winter), they might have SAD.
Who’s at risk for SAD?
Anyone can develop SAD, but a major risk factor is geographical location. People that live far from the equator (either north or south) are more likely to get seasonal affective disorder, likely because these areas have the most drastic weather changes from summer to winter.
- Those with a family history of SAD or another form of depression or mental illness.
- Individuals who have personally already experienced mental illness(es); and
- People with pre-existing low levels of vitamin D.
Symptoms you might be experiencing if suffering from SAD:
- Low energy
- Change in weight/appetite
- Digestion problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Obsessive thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decrease in self-care
Lifestyle changes and practices that could improve your mental health:
- Light therapy
- Get outside or if it’s too cold, try exercising inside by a window with curtains open
- Watch your diet (add more fruits and vegetables and foods high in vitamin D)
- Peer support groups (If you’re a woman in recovery, Avalon may have one that’s right for you)
- Other treatment options include psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. Discuss this with your Physician.
So that’s the deal with Blue Monday! Now that we’ve listed the facts, you can decide how you should go about this day. Just remember that someone close to you, or even someone you pass in the street or at the grocery store, could be having a hard time this season – or on any given day. Small acts of kindness go a long way, so be kind. If you’re in recovery and looking for a group of like-minded women to connect with, please reach out, Avalon is here for you.
The above listings and information are not inclusive and are not intended to replace recommendations by a health care professional. We recommend you speak to your physician if you suspect you may be suffering from SAD or any other mental illness that may need to be treated by a professional and they can help refer you.