Is a focus on Blue Monday really helpful?

We are told that today is the most depressing day of the year. This was based on a formula devised in 2005, taking into account various factors, and was (surprise surprise) developed as a concept for PR reasons.

Since then, it’s become a ‘thing’ every year, and as with any ‘day’ (or indeed week or month), becomes a talking point, with lots of people focusing on things to cheer us all up.

But is this really helpful? Isn’t there a risk that if we tell ourselves this is the most depressing day of the year, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Won’t we focus on thinking actually, yes, the weather is a bit rubbish, and not going to improve for a while, and actually I am a bit skint after Christmas, and there’s nothing to look forward to?

Feeling a bit down is something that happens to everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, and can come at any time of year, based on many factors that are largely personal to the individual and not, of course, related to the date.

I prefer to think of January as a whole being a positive time. Although of course the transition from 31 December to 1 January is just numbers on a calendar, there is an opportunity at the beginning of a year to focus on plans, goals, revisit them, or develop new ones. To consider what we want to change or improve about our life – our personal life and our working life.

I have already had several HR professionals say to me that they’ve put working with me on their mood boards or goals for this year, which is lovely. Frequently I talk to people long before they’re actually fully ready to take the plunge into self-employment, and that’s great, because having a long-term goal to focus on is really clarifying and helps enormously if you’re in a situation you can’t change for the moment.

Instead, if you’re in a job you can’t leave just yet, or want to go self-employed but personal reasons mean that’s not quite doable at the moment, or have another personal goal that needs to be a longer-term one, you can make the most of the situation you are currently in, with a view to your end goal. You can consider what experiences, knowledge, or contacts you can gain from, or develop in, your current situation that will make a difference to your end plans. That way you feel like you’re doing something that will get you closer to where you want to be.

So don’t let Blue Monday become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And to the extent you’re not happy with something about your working or personal life, use January as an opportunity to come up with a plan to change it.

If you’re considering a change and would like to explore setting up your own consultancy with bags of support do get in touch.