17 January, 2017

Is Today Really Blue Monday?

Crisis Stabilization Unit Steinbach

Today is the third Monday of January, and that means according to some people it is Blue Monday. But Dick Forbes, who is a Clinical Support Coordinator at the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Steinbach says the history behind today’s nickname is somewhat misleading.

Crisis Stabilization Unit Steinbach

Crisis Stabilization Unit Steinbach

(Crisis Stabilization Unit in Steinbach)According to Forbes, a man from Wales used a mathematical program to help determine which day of the year was most depressing. This included several factors including post-Christmas slowdown, failed New Year’s resolutions and the long and dark evenings.

However, Forbes says this man was a consultant, helping travel companies take advantage of peoples’ moods. He says it is similar to Hallmark inventing Mother’s Day.

Blue Monday this year falls on January 16th, which is the middle of winter and in fact at the tail end of what is referred to as the ‘dead of winter’ in southern Manitoba. But Forbes says he has worked with many people suffering from Bipolar Disorder and for them, the most depressing time of year is not mid-January. Forbes says for many it is at the times of year when seasons change.

Further to that, he says just the idea that Monday, January 16th is supposed to be a very depressing day, is enough to get people to fall into a funk.

However, Forbes says this time of year can produce an emotional letdown. For example, with New Year’s resolutions, according to Forbes, by the third week of January, 80 per cent of people have already failed.

Forbes says there are some warning signs that loved ones might be feeling down this time of year. This can include how their interaction with others has changed. For example, if they show less interest in grandchildren, pets or hobbies. And then how long does this mood last. He says if it is only a few days, it might not mean anything. Other indicators include withdrawal from conversations and a lack of engagement. Or if someone speaks disparagingly, ends a relationship or has quit a job without having another to fall back on.

Forbes says some ways to make today a happier day is to get involved in a group activity and exercise. He says there is also help through family physicians and crisis services.