Coping with ‘Blue Monday’
Prince George, B.C. – Feeling blue today?
If yes, you’re not alone. Today, the third Monday in January, has been famously dubbed ‘Blue Monday,’ a day some call the most depressing of the year.
So where does it come from?
“Honestly, January tends to be a bit of a blue month in general and I think some of the history has come from those bills from Christmas coming in, the travel, the family and friends over Christmas and excitement is starting to wane a little bit and we’re looking at winter still and long days,” says Mary Lu Spagrud, manager of education and projects at the Canadian Mental Health Association office in Prince George.
“All of this is starting to affect us. So, January tends to be a depressing month in general.”
For starters, she says it’s important to note there’s a big difference between feeling ‘blue’ and feeling depressed.
“We all have blue days – most Mondays for example. I’m guilty of it myself. I’ve got to get out of bed and get the kids off to school and back into the routine of what’s happening this week. Maybe I’m not so motivated. That’s being blue and we all experience that.”
And then there’s feeling depressed.
“If we’re talking depression, we’re looking at that chemical imbalance in the brain. That’s a whole different thing,” says Spagrud. “That prolonged feeling of hopelessness, being unable to make decisions. Withdrawing for a period of two weeks or longer.”
If you’re feeling blue, she says there’s many things you can do to combat it.
“Do something that makes you smile, gives you energy and rejuvenates you. Maybe you can plan something – get together with friends. In December, we often encourage people to plan some things in January to look forward to.”
But if you’re depressed?
“We encourage you to go and see your doctor. Find out, are you dealing with depression? And if you are, there are things can help you – counselling, behavioural therapy programs like Bounce Back – a self-help program for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Some people require medication, lifestyle changes, those types of things.”
Above all, Spagrud says talking about how you are feeling is essential.
“One of the things we really do promote here is just the idea that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. If we talked about the way we feel the same way we talked about a headache or a sore back I think we’d see less negative impact.”