You may have heard of the expression ‘Blue Monday’ and wondered what that exactly it meant. Coined in 2005, this term typically refers to the first Monday after the December holidays. There are many areas of discontent that can actually follow the holidays and these can pertain to your mood, your finances, and your lack of motivation to drag yourself back into work or get back to your daily routine.
Like many, you may have found it extremely hard to return to reality and may even feel somewhat down or depressed about this inevitability. The time period for ‘Blue Monday’ may actually vary each year and from person to person, and may fortunately or unfortunately depending how you look at it, not take place until mid-January. Whenever the exact date on the calendar, my sister was far from immune.
To sum it up, her family holiday was joyous but also exhausting! With so much packed into to so little time, it was a whirlwind of presents, food, family, and friends. With two kids and her husband she tries to make each Christmas as fun-filled as possible and special.
This year it was especially more difficult to get back to reality, as they decided to go away for a few days after Christmas. They travelled to Florida to stay with some family friends and were fortunate to soak up some of the sunshine and warmer weather. Once returning to the colder weather, however, it was that much harder to face the winter temperatures and she admits, this lead to an even deeper ‘Blue Monday’ effect on her part.
New Year’s Resolutions
Another depressing aspect of Blue Monday is also associated with the failed New Year’s resolutions that we make each year (each better, exercise more, spend less, etc). I always hear people saying that these are things that you should try and do all year long, but let’s face it we are only human and we struggle to do the things we should do all the time. For me, I also plan on keeping these resolutions to eat more healthy, get on that elliptical at least three times per week . . . however sometimes we all fall short in these areas and get disappointed in ourselves. It is ok to not always be at your best and keep reminding yourself all throughout the year to try a little harder to make these annual resolutions more of a habit.
Dreaded Credit Card Bills!
My sister and her husband both had to get back into their daily routines and while, this helped the kids by allowing them to be more structured and busy with school and other activities, the definite downside was the amount of credit card bills and due payments that they were hit with. It is sort of funny that while this happens every year, it still comes as somewhat of a surprise (and not the good kind) each time to them.
As a family, they try to be as financially prepared and follow a budget to make sure these bills do not bury us in the months following the holidays, however we still struggle to stay on top of our January and February bills.
What to do
While it is only mid-January as I am writing this, my sister is still wondering how best to cope and what to do to ease the ‘Blue Monday’ pains? It is a little comforting to know that many people also feel the let-down that occurs after the holiday excitement, the lack of enthusiasm of going to back to the ‘real world’ as well as facing the large bills that must be paid – so how can we all help each other get through this challenging time?
Strategies for Moving Beyond the Effect of Blue Monday . . .
Here is a personal list of strategies I came up with to try and overcome my sister’s Blue Monday’ mood – feel free to take them or leave them or come up with some ideas that make sense and are achievable for you.
1) Work/Routines – ease back into your routines and remember you are likely to feel tired and even unmotivated; however this should improve as you get back into things. To help with this, try to get into a better sleep schedule, cook healthy meals, as work with your family as a team to make this a better transition.
2) Finances – this may also be a good time to re-visit your finances and make a new budget for 2014. Factoring in the charges that you have accumulated during your holiday shopping and recent travel expenses and adjust your budget for the upcoming months. This may help to get your finances back on track and put you in a more comfortable position for any future expenses.
3) Resolutions – try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes, we already go into new years resolutions knowing we are going to fail. By taking some of the pressure off of yourself when setting these criteria, you may find you actually can stick to some of them with less difficulty. Try setting smaller goals or even one larger goal at a time and then moving onto the next as you feel you have had some success.
All the best in making Blue Monday a distant memory sooner rather than later…