"The word 'happiness' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." - Carl Jung
Do you know about Blue Monday? It’s supposedly the most depressing day of the year. This year it’s January 18th according to British psychologist, Cliff Arnall, who devised a literal formula to arrive at his (much criticized) Blue Monday theory.
The “formula” is:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ"
M x NA
The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed resolution, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.
It’s best to keep in mind, that his theory was created for an airline marketing campaign, which wanted to boost slowing sales in January, but let’s face it -- questionable science aside, the guy has a point. Late January sucks.
So, as you find yourself deep within the shut-in season, here’s a short list of things to keep in mind:
Moods don’t have to be game changers -- You’re sad today. Go to that get-together anyway. Acknowledge that moods are simply that. Emotions, as opposed to new realities. They are not who you are and will not last through all of time. Try not to generalize a bad day or week into an entire season. Fake it until you make it and don’t let moods dictate your life and activities.
Don’t make the big decisions -- Depressed people should not be in charge. Shaking up life when you’re feeling down can lead to some immediate feelings of satisfaction, but you’re not always thinking at your best when you’re blue. In other words, don’t make snap decisions or huge life changes when you’re depressed.
Light up your life - If you leave the house when it’s dark and come home to darkness, be sure and go outside at lunch on sunny days -- take a brief walk, sit in your car, or at least stare out a window. Once you do get home, turn on more lights than usual and consider a balanced spectrum light box.
Drop the dumplings - A lot of us look forward to comfort foods in the long winter months. Pull out the crock pot and boil up the noodles to while away those long winter nights. Unfortunately, this puts you on a roller coaster of dopamine release and sluggish after effects. We’re not saying you have to eat veggie trays all winter, but consider the healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods.
Keep moving - So you failed the resolution, have given up the size 4 goals, and can’t find time for the gym. Well besides needing to stop making excuses and start making progress, you need to keep moving anyway. Go wander the mall, take the dog around the block, walk your stairs at work. It’s not just about your body. It’s important for your mind.
Also, keep your chin up out there. We’ve got three more months before the sky shines and the weather breaks, but you’ve got a life to live, so make it a great season.