An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IF YOU’RE NOT DEPRESSED today, you should be. At least, if you believe in Blue Monday.
The third Monday in January, that’s today, is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. The weather is lousy, credit card bills from Christmas shopping sprees are coming due, and our New Year’s resolutions are kaput.
And, of course, we have that pandemic thing that has had us in a funk for almost a year. Surveys show that all the restrictions on social engagement, not to mention financial stress and concern for the safety of loved ones, are taking a toll on our mental health.
Add it all together and we can be forgiven for feeling down in the dumps but here’s the good news — experts say Blue Monday is bunk, that there’s no scientific basis for it.
They say the formula used to calculate the date — which includes things like stress levels and motivational levels — simply can’t be effectively quantified.
There’s some irony in the fact that one of the criteria is lack of travel, which might be due to the fact Blue Monday was invented by a travel company. There’s no question that travel restrictions during the pandemic have led to degrees of depression. (Unless, of course, you’re a politician or university professor, in which case those restrictions don’t apply to you.)
Blue Monday might be a myth but seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter blahs, is real. It’s blamed largely on the lack of sunshine during January and February and there’s nothing trivial about it. Maybe that’s why January is Mental Wellness Month.
Depression isn’t funny. If today really is a sad day, it should also be a day of hope because things can only get better. Spring will come, the snow will go away, the sun will reappear, there will be vaccines for everyone and Trump will be gone.
So, Happy Blue Monday to all.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.