Rash Resolutions

[box]Zara Zeb’s monthly column[/box]

In 2005 a British psychologist Cliff Arnall came up with a formula that combined several factors, including bills from the Christmas period to be paid, our ability to pay the debt, the weather, and broken resolutions, to calculate the most depressing day of the year. It started off with the 4th Monday of January but was brought forward to the 3rd Monday of January several years later. The most depressing day of this year was Monday the 21st of January 2013 – which is incidentally also my mother’s birthday.

Despite Cliff Arnall actually admitting that Sky Travel, a tourism company, paid him to state a day as the most depressing during the year, ‘Blue Monday’ has stuck around. Being a short, dark day, it is easy to believe that there is a depressing day that happens to fall at the beginning of the New Year, when we realise that the numbers of the year changing, and that we are still who we are with the same old life, and nothing about us has miraculously changed.

Personally, I find it difficult to average out how a person may be feeling and create a sad day of the year. Yes a person may have their debt and bills, and the weather may be absolutely terrible, but it may also be their birthday – like my mother’s, or they may be in their honeymoon period of a new relationship, or they may have gotten a job promotion, or be celebrating the end of exams. It stands to reason that if there was a sad day, there is a happy day, which with a quick Google search shows itself to be mid-summer, but with no date to its name. Again, how can it be the happiest day when someone may be having their exams, or someone they know is unwell, or someone has lost their job, or they have just broken up with their partner?

Moving with the idea that there is a sad day of the year, what can we do to make it happier? A quick Google search recommends getting some more exercise in, eating healthily, drinking less alcohol, and trying to get some sunlight if possible – advice which is applicable in all scenarios at any time of the year.

Mental Health Research UK hopes to turn ‘Blue Monday’ into Blooming Monday. Their new initiative starts with the next ‘Blue Monday’ whereby they encourage the public to wear bright colours to raise awareness of depression and seasonal affective disorder. They also encourage participants to raise money for Mental Health Reasearch UK by texting BLOO22 to 70070 to donate £2.

Even if ‘Blue Monday’ is in the same league as Friday the 13th, turning it into an initiative to raise awareness and funds is something I applaud. After all, if we’re going to believe it without questioning it, there may as well also be something good that comes from it. I hope to see lots of colours being worn in Blue Mondays to come.

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