Is Blue Monday trivialising Mental Health?

Welcome back to That’s What Pea Said

Today is Blue Monday, a date considered by many to be the most depressing day of the year… The concept was first proposed in 2005 as part of a press release published by Sky Travel who claimed that they had made the discovery via an equation based upon the weather conditions within the Northern Hemisphere.

Pseudoscience theories aside, it’s logical that January is the most depressing month of the year… December is generally a month full of excitement, however with this comes the aftermath, the crash and often a hard return to reality. It’s reported that break-up rates are higher in January, and with a focus on the ‘New Year, New Me’ mentality it’s hardly surprising that people begin to question their own lifestyles and ‘purpose’, especially when writing goals and resolutions. It’s almost an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality…

During the darker, colder months of the year many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – a type of depression which comes and goes within a seasonal cycle… This paired with the post-Christmas comedown is another reason why January is considered to be the most depressing month of the year.

The exact cause of SAD is still unknown, however it’s generally thought to be in correlation to the reduced exposure to sunlight within the winter months, which seems like a fairly natural bodily response… It’s thought that the lack of sunlight may affect the hypothalamus working properly which in turn affects: the production of melatonin and serotonin and our internal body-clock (circadian rhythm).

There are a number of treatments available to reduce the effects of SAD, which include making lifestyle changes, light therapy, talking-therapies (counselling and/or CBT) and anti-depressive medication. If you feel that you may be suffering from SAD it’s important to contact your GP. Symptoms can include: a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability, feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day, sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning, craving carbs and gaining weight (source).

With the above in mind, it’s difficult to argue the fact that January is very likely to genuinely be the most depressing month of the year and in turn, Blue Monday is very likely to be the most depressing date of the year (afterall Mondays are already tarnished with the fact they’re at the start of the working week)…

However, I can’t help but question whether or not the term is just an effective marketing ploy, whether or not it belittles genuine mental health issues, or simply raises the fact that we all need to practice a little more self-care and TLC? Being involved with a number of Mental Health charities and advocacy groups, I decided to ask my twitter followers if they believe that Blue Monday Trivialises Mental Health Problems to which 56% of voters have said no. A number of accounts which I follow have tweeted offers and promotional goodies to promote self-care and self-love and MakeUpRevolution said the following: This , we are supporting Mental Health Awareness by pledging £10,000 from today’s sales to , a charity that provides support and advice to millions. Champion change with us – share your stories & selfies, tagging 💙 This is a really positive and supportive response.

Personally, I think it’s really easy to over-think whether or not trends are trivialising Mental Health Awareness, especially in a time when many (myself included) are campaigning frequently to end the stigma and encourage others to open up about their feelings. It’s easy to be over-sentive and question the integrity of something which is open to interpretation and so I’d like to take the opportunity to focus on promoting self-care, whilst continuing to spread positivity… There’s no harm in taking time to for a mental-health check-in.

If you have any thoughts, please comment below…

Thanks for reading,

Pixee xo