The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title of “Blue Monday” due to a combination of post-festivities ‘come down’, cold, damp, dark nights, withdrawal from high calorie comfort foods and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.
According to research at Cardiff University, it all, apparently, adds up to a ‘general malaise’ that could be costing as much as £93 billion in lost productivity. Although the basis to this ‘research’ may have dubious foundations, I think the underlying message is quite a poignant one.
Our mood can be affected by a multitude of factors and will naturally vary from day to day, or sometimes even hour by hour. Gaining awareness of what impacts and effects our moods helps us to identify triggers and be able to feel more in control. After all, If we can see something, we can choose to change it, if we can’t see it, we can’t change it. Knowing that a situation has a negative effect on our mood means that we can implement strategies to reduce the impact.
A really useful tool that I have recommended to many of my clients (and one I also use myself) can be found at moodscope.com I’ve found this tool to be a very effective way to measure and record fluctuations in mood and help identify any patterns and triggers.
Having said that, I think its important to draw a distinction between Clinical Depression as opposed to feeling a bit sad, low or glum. The term “Depression” is commonly used to describe feeling down or gloomy but Clinical Depression on the other hand, is a far more complex condition that is affected by many factors, acute and chronic, internal and external, often requiring professional help and treatment.
I also find its common usage a little disrespectful to those who do suffer from Clinical Depression as it suggests that it is temporary and minor and experienced by all rather than as a chronic and incapacitating condition. In my experience, people with clinical depression often face an uphill struggle to be taken seriously, because “depression” has become such a general term.
So, Although it’s understandable that January is a very ‘depressing’ time for many, it’s doubtful that there are a reliable set of external factors that cause ‘Depression’ in an entire population at the same time every year….
If you do have any concerns about your mood or are concerned about Depression, Quay Therapy is here to help.