Happy And Sad Smileys Showing EmotionsHave you heard about Blue Monday? Someone told me it’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year and falls on the Monday of the last full week of January. This year it was January 20th.

Not sure about the science of that, but what many of us know is this: January can get you down.

I saw a cartoon about December: There was a jolly snow man, beautiful snowfall, and twinkling Christmas lights.

Then there was one about January: The snow man was half-melted and terrifying; the beautiful snowfall had turned to chills that suggested its-so-cold-my-head-might-crack-in-two; and the twinkling Christmas lights had been replaced by a mailbox full of credit card bills.

I’ll be honest. I’m not huge into January. Here are a few reasons:

  1. It’s freezing
  2. The days are still short. It’s just depressing when the sun is gone before the dinner dishes are cleared. I think I read somewhere that a lack of sunlight weighs on your brain.
  3. Credit card bills from Christmas come in (Not that any of us overspent though, right?)
  4. There isn’t a day-off celebration to look forward to (Valentine’s Day isn’t close enough nor is it a family-wide show stopper).
  5. You’re just coming down from the high of Christmas (Not everyone loves Christmas, but a lot of us do).
  6. You’re cruising Facebook and everyone just puts their best foot forward making you feel even more alone with your feelings.
  7. Healthy food costs more at the grocery store.
  8. If you have little kids it takes a boat load of energy to get them all bundled up for outside for only a few moments of fresh air.

It’s no wonder that people struggle with feeling blue. So if this is you, you’re not alone.

So what do you do about it?

  1. First, remember that this too shall pass. The days are getting longer!
  2. Make special plans—why not get together with some friends. Misery loves company. And that company can cheer you.
  3. Re-kick start your prayer life (blog forthcoming).
  4. Call in some favours. Have people offered to do something nice for you? Cash in those chips.
  5. Get your mind off your own woes: Ask yourself, How can I help one of my neighbours? And just do it.
  6. Get outside (maybe even for a run or brisk walk). Yes, it’s cold, but it wakes you up and is good for you.
  7. Worship. Praise lifts. And there’s something about focusing on his will more than just your whims that has a stabilizing effect.
  8. Get into that good book that you’ve been putting off reading.
  9. If you’re married, go on a date with your spouse.
  10. Remember, you’re Canadian: Suck it up. (To my non-Canadian readers, I woke up today and it was -30 degrees Celsius (but all of us have grandparents who apparently remember it being twice that cold).

Not every time of the year can be great. And I appreciate that actual depression is a real and difficult and complex thing. But if you’re just feeling a bit down, being intentional about a few things sure can help.

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote: “We need variety to be whole.” He was talking about something else when he said it but I think it applies to January too.

Variety. And remember, the days are getting longer.