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Why Blue Monday considered the most depressing day of the year

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We all want to beat the January blues.

It’s ages since payday, it’s cold, dark and a bit quiet after the crazy Christmas season, going outside to do more than put the bins out can feel daunting (the sheer amount of layering involved).

It’s ‘Blue Monday’ today, widely recognised as the most depressing day of the year. But what’s the science? Turns out that the term ‘Blue Monday’ was invented by a psychologist who was contracted by Sky Travel 20 years ago to create a ‘scientific formula’ for the January blues. In other words, it’s more about selling us sunny holidays than it is about finding solutions. I mean, I love a sunny holiday as much as the next person, but what about making today feel a bit better?

I’m a lot better at ‘wintering’ than I used to be. I’ve been living alone for nearly a decade now and I’ve learned to love this month (which I used to dread)

Not because I’m having fun all the time. I’m not. Because it’s a great time for reflection, it can feel expansive, restful and peaceful. I have (mostly) learned to relish in my solitude.

Don’t get me wrong, some big feelings do come up for me at this time of year. Because the ‘busy-ness’ I create in my life is not there to distract me. I have more time for my Yoga practice, meditation, reading and listening to music. And sometimes that time and space can feel challenging! This week I got onto my Yoga mat and cried for ages.

When I look at it, being really productive and positive is a great way for me to not feel the sadness of the world, the sadness of the challenges we’ve all faced over the past few years and the sadness of past adverse experiences. What I do is talk to friends, find support and allow myself not to be incredibly positive all the time every day. I guess I’m learning to love the not so lovable bits of myself.

A friend said recently it would be a great time to start a glimmer jar, and I think that’s a great idea. One of my most transformative habits has been gratitude journalling, and a glimmer jar seems like a great extension of this idea.  Finding the little glimmers in each day, writing them down and posting them in a glass jar. A reminder of the good things and a way to get my mind focused on what’s lovely, what lights my soul and what’s special about each day.

And it’s all very well for me to write about ‘being outside the comfort zone’ and ‘getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’, but unless I’m prepared to do that myself these are empty words. So I’ve done a little bit of that too. Certainly it creates spaciousness in myself for new possibilities.

So here’s to January, only two weeks to go! And stuff the New Year’s Resolutions, do what works for you!

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