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  • Mark Bixter

Blue Monday

What do you think about Blue Monday? Is it a help or a hindrance?

Today is the day that is unhelpfully named “Blue Monday”. It is the day that is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year and falls on the 3rd Monday of January. Scientifically it is nonsense. There is no evidence to support the claim. But is there something we can take from it?

Blue Monday does two things. The first is not very helpful as it becomes a branch to flog ourselves with and creates a sense of pressure around what we are “meant” to feel. Spoiler alert – we aren’t meant to feel anything. We are complex beings who feel what we feel and that’s completely normal! Imagining waking up today brimming with hope and possibility and then realising that it’s Blue Monday so we must have got it wrong… we should be feeling miserable and depressed instead. That’s not good for anyone. Similarly if you’re already feeling low, anxious or depressed and then all of a sudden you’re hit with the concept of Blue Monday that can make you feel a whole lot worse. In short Blue Monday can exacerbate the exact feelings that it is trying to highlight.

The second thing is slightly more positive as Blue Monday does open up discussion. I’ve lost count of the amount of people saying they’re available to talk and are there for anyone who needs it. This is on balance is a good thing. It starts to open up conversation, it continues to normalise the emotions people feel are more challenging to disclose. Culturally there has been a shift in recent years that has made this kind of conversation more prevalent, but there is a long way to go…

When we say #It’sOKNotToBeOK we of course mean it and on some level we understand that everyone is fighting their own battle. But there is a gulf between the narrative we put out into the world and the ability of someone sitting in their pain to be able to reach out and speak to someone/anyone. We have work to do before people get to that stage of pain. We need to listen, deeply listen and that listening needs to become our modus operandi. If we fully listen, then people will feel fully heard. Listening might just change the world!

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