Psychologists in Britain have said that the last full week of January is the most depressing time of year, and labelled next Monday ‘Blue Monday’. Blue is a slang way of saying unhappy.
Mondays are generally seen as the worst day of the week because people feel grumpy and tired at having to go back to work after a weekend with a different sleep pattern.
There are various reasons why more people feel depressed at this time of year. Many people have unpaid credit card bills for the Christmas presents they bought, and pay day is often not until the end of the month.
As the party season is over, people feel stressed because they have to go back to real life – work and commuting; and they may be unhappy with their body image after bingeing on booze, chocolates, and other food at Christmas-time.
People may have already failed in their New Year’s resolutions, such as giving up smoking.The bad weather in January can also contribute to people feeling fed up.
Some companies are taking this quite seriously and offering counselling for any staff who are feeling depressed. They hope that helping people as soon as there are signs of depression will avoid absenteeism. Evidence shows that unreasonable managers who contribute to their staff feeling fed up at this time can expect an uncooperative workforce.
However, it’s not all bad! Many people feel optimistic at this time, that things can only get better. Psychologists offer suggestions of how to combat feeling blue. These include spending 15 minutes doing a 'gratitude exercise' thinking about and writing down what you are grateful for, such as health, family, friends and so on.
Taking up a new hobby, doing some exercise, going to bed earlier, eating a healthy breakfast, and listening to some uplifting music, are all recommended as ways to feel more cheerful.
To avoid feeling blue next January, experts say that the best thing to do is to plan better next December. Spend less on presents, eat and drink less over the festive period, and make more realistic New Year’s resolutions.