‘I hate Mondays’ – Garfield: philosopher, lasagne enthusiast, cat.
CONTENT WARNING – THIS POST DISCUSSES THEMES OF DEPRESSION, FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AND POOR MENTAL HEALTH
Blue Monday. Have you seen it popping up on your social media feed? What is it? Have you heard of it? If not allow me to explain.
The “theory” goes that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year because it’s Monday, you haven’t been paid for the month yet, you are in debt because of Christmas, the weather is pants and most people have already broken their New Year’s Resolutions by now.
The problem with the theory is that it’s complete nonsense. Blue Monday is a totally fabricated marketing strategy, designed to make you part with your cash. The message boils down to, ‘Feel Sad? Give us money and you’ll feel better!’
You are a unique and complex, beautiful person. Your circumstances are different to mine, your neighbour’s and even your best friend’s! The thing that makes your day great, or terrible, is individual to you!
There is no possible way to say that one day is scientifically the worst day of the year for everyone. It’s complete and utter rubbish. The worst day of my year is definitely not related to Christmas spending, the weather or New Year’s Resolutions; and I’m willing to bet the worst day of your year has nothing to do with these things either!
Oftentimes, the companies that spout this message don’t care whether you feel happy, sad or indifferent; they just want you to spend money. Ironically, they say that the money you previously spent in December is one of the reasons Blue Monday is so bad; but spending money in January is something that will make you feel better. Huh. Something to think about. *Eye roll*
This message isn’t just limited to social media. All big businesses (and a lot of small ones) have a mailing list and can send whatever marketing messages they like directly to your inbox. They may advertise in print or on television or radio. There are so many ways for businesses to send their message to us.
On the flip side there are some responsible businesses and people out there who do want to help. Last year Simon Harris from Man Behaving Dadly tackled the problem of Blue Monday through twitter. He opened a dialogue with companies in an effort to get them to use their platforms for good. You can find some of his posts here. Let’s hope that these companies have been true to their word and are going to do better this year.
There are a number of responsible things companies can do on the day they claim is “the most depressing day of the year”. They could fill your inbox with advice on promoting metal wellbeing. They could fill our social media feeds with links to mental health resources for anyone who wants to reach out for support. They could encourage good financial planning by directing their customers to free budgeting resources. They could even do the unthinkable and donate a portion of their profits to mental health charities.
You might be reading this thinking, ‘Wait, George, aren’t you a business owner? Don’t you want us to spend money with you?”
Well, yes and no. If you are feeling low and have the choice between spending money or reaching out for help, always take the help. Please don’t spend more than you can afford. Please look after yourself. You are a unique, complex and beautiful person just as you are, no amount of material possessions changes that.
You’ll find some online resources at the end of this post. They include places to seek help for yourself, ways to better support your loved ones and tools for taking control of your finances.
I’ll be share this blog post on my social media pages so as many people can find this post and use the resources as possible; and I’ll be donating 10% of the sales I make in the week of Blue Monday to The Blurt Foundation, a UK charity working to increase awareness and understanding around anxiety and depression.
You are worth so much more than any Blue Monday nonsense.
If you are struggling with a mental health problem, please reach out to a trained person.
IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 999
If you need urgent help, please call 111 and speak to someone
You can also ask for an urgent appointment with your GP
If you need to talk, day or night, you can call The Samaritans on 116 123
The Blurt Foundation – You can look through all the services they have compiled from across the UK. There are links to online live chatting, support groups, NHS services and mental health charities. You can also click here for some resources written by Blurt, including their mental health tool kit!
NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) – research and refer yourself for talking therapy, counselling and guided self-help through the NHS. You must be over 18 and be registered with a GP.
Mind, the mental health charity – browse a range of resources including tips for managing your own mental health, information of treatment and therapies and advice for helping others. Mind also runs and online community called side by side, which you can find here.
Money Helper is a free and impartial service which helps you to manage your money. They have advice, tools and even people you can talk to in order to get your money in order. If you are looking for a free budget planner, take a look here.