Over the last month various news outlets here, and abroad, have continued to offer advice on how to beat the January Blues from upgrading your underwear drawer (The Daily Mail) to simply being grateful (The Edinburgh News), a trait at hand but often forgot.
January is a dark month for most only matched by February; together they stand at the start of the year dividing, it appears, the good times with the bad. After the fun and festivity of Christmas they bring us down to reality with a firm bump as the credit card statements make their impact and trousers/skirts appear to shrink.
Since 2005, Blue Monday has slipped into the nation’s lexicon with an effective bit of PR on Sky Travel’s behalf when they commissioned research by Cardiff University (via a well known PR firm) looking into the most depressing day of the year. It was calculated – apparently using the following equation:
(C x R x ZZ)
__________ > 400
((Tt + D) x St) + (Px Pr)
Without going into the coefficients, variables, operators and constants it was calculated that the third (or fourth, see this month for details) of January was the most depressing due to the number of days since Christmas and payday; increased stress levels; the inability to maintain resolutions with motivation levels being on the floor. While most didn’t take this too seriously it did pique the public imagination creating a lot of discussion ensuring that it is now firmly embedded in collective pop consciousness.
So it’s official; we’re unhappy so how do we tackle this when we have another month to go? Psychologist and speaker, Javier Bajer, draws attention to the lack of light being a very seasonal issue for people, in varying degrees, causing low mood to depression. However, the ‘good news’, Javier is keen to point out is ‘feeling under the weather is multifactorial and ... we can manage some of those factors’. Javier suggests we can:
1) Find (or define) the point of your job, bringing Purpose to the existing need for Profit.
2) Increase your physical activity - that will help rebalance some of the neuro-chemicals.
3) Focus on others - find people who need your skills or your time and give a bit to them.
So while we’re putting the above into action, even if it’s in the very smallest of ways, we are getting through this. Even with February - the unidentical shady twin to its predecessor - the days are in fact getting marginally brighter for all ensuring some of see our front door in daylight after a day’s work.
Now this article could wrap up with a weighty piece of poetic prose from The Baird extolling the delights of the coming Spring. Instead I leave you with the equally wise words of the sadly departed, and much missed, Robin Williams who has this to say about the annual rejuvenation:
Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'
So hang in there; we can make it together!
Picture: Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting Sorrowing old man ('At Eternity's Gate') courtesy of Wikipedia