Blue Monday Has Nothing on Us

By Charlotte Bumstead

Are you feeling extra sluggish and miserable today? It could be a specific case of seasonal affective disorder—a combination of broken New Year’s resolutions, post-Christmas debt and an extra strong dose of Canadian winter weather. The nation’s temperatures are, in fact, at a seasonal low. Winnipeg feels like a whopping -30 degrees Celsius, followed closely by Quebec City at -29. Hamilton feels like a brisk -21, and in Calgary temperatures are dropping to feel as freezing cold as -32. But, today there is an even easier culprit than the weather to blame. This third Monday of January is stressed by many as the bleakest day of the year—they call it Blue Monday.

The origins of Blue Monday can be traced back to Cliff Arnall, a man loosely associated with Cardiff University in Wales. The date was reportedly fixed six years ago, in answer to Sky Travel’s proposal to any academic willing to vouch for the idea of a seasonal mood nadir. Arnall’s marketing formula is based on a combination of the winter downfalls listed above. It always falls on the beginning of the third week in January, as the effect of Blue Friday just wouldn’t be the same.

Though Arnall’s so-called science is criticized by various experts, it seems that the world appreciates having a date culpable for this timely melancholy mood. Of course, we at Zoomer see it as another excuse to focus on continuing and celebrating our love for life. This is why we decided to share five approaches for protecting your emotional well-being and your physical health at a time when, apparently, the advice is most necessary.

1.Value Your Daily Indulgences
Be sure your to-do list isn’t solely occupied by pesky chores. Take the time to treat yourself to at least one of your favourite diversions every day, whether it is reading in bed, going out to breakfast or just taking some alone time for yourself.

2.Enhance Your Strength and Independence
It is tempting to skip your usual workout on these low-energy days, but resisting the urge will be beneficial both now and later. Simply 10 minutes of cardio will make you feel productive during an otherwise lethargic day while also ensuring you stick to your long-term exercise plan.

3.Defuse Stress Factors
During those busy days full of repeated annoyances and hassles, take a moment to breathe by inhaling through your nose and then slowly exhaling through your mouth. Deep breathing exercises work as a soothing form of meditation to reduce tension and anxiety.

4.Share Your Wisdom and Skills
Seize opportunities to contribute to society or to support a cause you believe in by volunteering your time at a local school, club or community organization. Research shows that volunteering can improve your happiness as a way of staying engaged, meeting new people and sharing your talents.

5.Appreciate the People Surrounding You
Plan recurring events to get together with friends and family. Sharing a laugh with loved ones has a positive impact on your life by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress hormones and releasing endorphins that can cause pain. This includes relationships at work. Colleagues and co-workers can provide valuable support during times of elevated stress.

For Zoomers, Blue Monday does not differ from any other day. It is an occasion to focus on the finer aspects in life—like staying engaged, accepting change and being in the moment.