Wood's Homes Blog

The Most Depressing Day of the Year

January 15, 2018
By Angelique Jenney, Wood’s Homes Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health
The Most Depressing Day of the Year

Is Today the Most Depressing Day of the Year?  Actually, it isn’t.

Blue Monday may be science fiction, but it offers up a time to talk about hard things and to build resilience for another year ahead.

Perhaps the most depressing part of Blue Monday’s history is that it was seemingly concocted as a media stunt, as opposed to sincerely bringing attention to the issue of mental health (for which it’s largely now known).  Not to mention that the supposed mathematical equation itself (which has absolutely no scientific merit) is built on a premise of privilege and the assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas, lives in a cold climate, and creates unrealistic New Year’s resolutions.

Blue Monday Image_1

A simple Google search immediately eradicates any potential in the validity of the day, possibly only surviving (if Twitter could ever be considered scientific) because of social media itself. To read more about this, click here. There are claims that this is the day wherein the highest number of negative tweets can be found. These tweets are related to 2 main things:

1: Guilt (failed resolutions anyone?)

2: The weather (um, it’s the 3rd week of January folks!)  Did I mention that the day itself is also a Monday? 

This is not exactly rocket science, and yet, here it is, 13 years after its inception, Blue Monday continues to thrive, much to the chagrin of this hilarious blogger who has written his brilliant expose of the day annually, yet not enough to stop it from happening. Read here.

So why does Blue Monday persist?  Perhaps, as one journalist wrote: “To give desperate journalists something to write about.” Read here. I do think it could be so much more.

I believe there is merit in discussing what can seem like that post-holiday crash; and there is even more merit in pointing out that depression and other mental health issues have never been known to follow a calendar. 

Blue Monday itself might not exist, but what it represents often does.  If we believe that the opposite of happiness is sadness, then any loss of one leads to the other.  If Blue Monday survives as a means of reminding us that the holidays are over, we spent too much, ate too much and the weather sucks; then Turquoise Tuesday exists to remind us that another holiday is coming (Family Day, March Break, Easter – the year is full of them if you think about it).  The shortest, darkest day of the year is now behind us and we’ve officially turned the corner into New Year; which means spring is coming.  

I can’t help but reflect on the movie Inside Out in which sadness is the emotion that ultimately saves the day by illustrating that happiness and sadness are often closely related, and we need to feel them both at times in order to fulfill our potential for growth and well-being.

Blue Monday Image_2

Blue Monday is just that opportunity to talk about how sadness and happiness are  equally important emotions, and that we have room for both of them – but it’s all about balance – two much of either one of them can leave a person feeling somewhat one dimensional.  So how do you start the conversation?

  1. Support the development of a vocabulary of feelings: Ask your child to name all the feelings they can have, and how they know when they are feeling them? (Feelings are often connected to physical feelings in our bodies.)
  2. Ask your child if they ever have feelings that confuse or frighten them; or feelings they don’t like. What do you think causes them?
  3. Strategize ways of coping with difficult feelings. Ask about what helps and what doesn’t (g. talking, listening to music, being active) and what could be tried the next time they are having that feeling. Stress the importance that feelings carry important messages, so we should listen to them first to find out what they are trying to tell us before we try to get rid of them!
  4. Let your child know that experiencing a range of emotions is normal and to be expected. However, if they have a feeling they don’t like that seems like it won’t go away, they need to tell someone. Reassure your child that often we need other people to help us manage our feelings, that’s why we have friends and families in the first place.

Remember, there is always someone who can help. We're here to help and have a number of ways for you to get a hold of us:

CALL: 403-299-9699

TEXT: 587-315-5000

EMAIL: etherapy@woodshomes.ca

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Walk-In counselling available at Eastside Family Centre.

Additional resources:

Here’s a good article on talking about Inside Out with your kids. Click here.