Is Blue Monday Trivialising Mental Health?

Welcome back to That’s What Pea Said… Have you checked out my latest post: Power Hour Readalong – Day 04? I originally wrote about Blue Monday in 2018, however I decided to take the opportunity to give my original post a refresh as this year we are facing particularly tough times and I thought this would be beneficial…

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

Pushing pseudoscience theories aside, it is logical that January is the most depressing month of the year… December is usually a month which is bursting with excitement, however following this comes the aftermath, the crash and often the harsh return to reality… It is reported that break-up rates are higher throughout January, and with a popular focus of ‘New Year, New Me’ it’s hardly surprising that this mentality is leading individuals to question their own lifestyles and purpose, especially when writing goals and resolutions. It’s almost an ‘if it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ approach.

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…

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. This is something which I like to frequently host on my Instagram…

Here in the UK, we are currently in our third national lockdown and consensus is, this is feeling much tougher for us all right now… If you are struggling, please don’t be afraid to reach out for support and remember to take each moment as it comes, intrusive thoughts and anxiety will always pass… What are your thoughts on Blue Monday? How are you feeling? How’s your head hun? Lets chat in the comments xo

twitter // instagram
Thats What Pea Said features in the Top 50 Vegan Lifestyle Blogs