Tuesday, January 19, 2016


            So how did your Blue Monday go? Not surprisingly, and true to form for me, I had a pretty good day. You know, I’ve always had a problem with being told what to do. If I hadn’t been told that Monday January 18th was mathematically proven to be the most depressing day of the year, thus Blue Monday, chances are I would have been pretty gloomy, too, with it being a Monday, after all, and colder than a ……….you pick one…..out there and I’m still driving to work in the dark and it’s a Saskatchewan January and…
            But you know what? When the sun did start to come up over the horizon it revealed the most beautiful, colourful sunrise and there was fresh hoar frost on the trees adding more beauty to the scenery and even with the “Extreme Cold Warning” flashing across the Weather Network screen there was very little wind to speak of making it a decent enough day for the middle of January in Saskatchewan.
Just because I don’t really like the cold weather doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the beauty that this time of year can bring and although it wasn’t a beach along the Caribbean Sea with a blazing sun and a cold beverage within arms reach it wasn’t the coldest place on the planet either. This time.
            It’s pretty hard not to get sucked into the post-Christmas Winter Blues anyway, let alone have it reinforced in us by a mathematician who’s got way too much time on his hands to be figuring out a mathematical equation to pinpoint exactly when the majority of people are reaching their lowest point in this too-long winter. I’m thinking most of us would have gotten there without being told the exact date.
            I do not mean to diminish the true effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, (SAD), the clinical definition of Winter Blues, because it is a clinically proven mental health issue and one cannot just “attitude” depression and anxiety away, regardless of the cause. That said, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be as positive as possible whenever we can.
            Oil is under $30 a barrel, the loonie’s tanking and every news channel’s got their economic scare tactics going in full bloom. Again, I do not want to take away from the economic downturn and its life-altering side effects but do we need to talk about it ad nauseum? How about refocusing a little attention on a solution instead of whining about the problem? But that’s maybe something else that cannot be “attitude adjusted”.
            But, hey, we’re gaining a couple of minutes of sunlight every day and the worst day is already behind us, if we believe the mathematician, and despite a couple of cold spells this winter hasn’t been nearly as cold as last winter’s version. Thank you El Nino.
            The economic situation has made many people rethink their priorities, too, and “Stay-cations” are being considered over the usual “Hot Holiday” destinations. That might not be a bad thing for Canadian tourism and its spinoff economic benefits. I saw a report that said that many Canadian winter sport resorts are enjoying their best year ever. Keeping some money at home can’t be all that bad, don’t you think?
             Thankfully Blue Monday is fading from our memory and it’s time to move forward with hope and faith. The year’s still young. There’s a lot to look forward to and nowhere to go but up.

“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day.”-Alice Morse Earle (1851-1911).


            January is to the year what Monday is to the week. January is the first month of the New Year following a month-long, or longer, binge of fun, food and frivolity which is just a larger and longer version of a Monday following a good weekend.
            A start is a start whether it’s starting a new year or a new week. The tendencies, not for everyone mind you, but for a large majority of the people, are to start the new week or New Year fresh with some renewed vim and vigor but the best laid plans have a tendency to fall flat come alarm time on Monday morning or the flipping of the calendar page on January 1st. Depending, of course, on how wild the weekend or the last month and its final day of the year was.
            Taking a look inside your empty wallet on a Monday morning or your chequing account on January 2nd is probably depressing enough let alone realizing that you’ve still got the remaining days of the week to get through or another eleven months before you will recover enough to blow those kinds of funds all over again.
            Even the most bubbly, optimistic, happy, happy, happy person goes, “Monday? Already?…grrrrr” How often have you heard, “Thank God It’s Monday”? Hmmm? Me too. That kind of thinking explains why they make the Monday the holiday on the long weekends instead of the Friday, don’t you think? We want Fridays. We love Fridays. Mondays…not so much.
            January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, coming from the Latin word for door, (janua), since January is the door to the New Year. Odd to me, though, is that January is considered new and when I think of new I think of something that makes you feel good like a new car or a new outfit or a cuddly new puppy or a new baby, or something, but a Canadian January is cold and dry and off-putting; it doesn’t really have the feeling of new to me at all. Definitely not a warm and fuzzy-type feeling, that’s for sure.
            So now you take your depressing Monday and you combine it with your depressing January and you know what you’ve got? BLUE MONDAY! That’s right, Blue Monday, which has been calculated to be the most depressing day of the year.
            Using factors such as weather conditions, debt level, time elapsed since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and assorted other pseudoscientific data, a mathematics tutor created an equation that pinpointed the most depressing day of the year as the third Monday in January. 2016’s version is the 18th of January.
            The good news is that once that’s over with there’s nowhere to go but up. Let’s get our lowest day of the year out of the way before the first month’s done. That way we only have to put up with the depressing Mondays for the rest of the year. The non-long-weekend Mondays, that is.
            There are usually some redeeming qualities in anything, regardless of their ability to depress us or not, but I’m writing this on a January Monday a week before Blue Monday so I don’t think I’ll even bother looking. I think I’ll just hunker down and ride this one out. Wallow in your Blue Monday everyone. Get it out of the way. It’ll get better.
“Feeling a little blue in January is normal,”- Marilu Henner (1952-).


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