CALGARY – Jan. 18 marks ‘Blue Monday’, long considered the most depressing day of the year.
A nasty mix of cold, dark days, Christmas debt and failing New Year’s resolutions.
A local group wants to dispel some myths about the dreaded January day.
Calgary in January means the holidays are over, it’s cold, the sun still doesn’t come until 8:30 a.m., and the only event on the calendar is Sir John A. MacDonald Day.
No wonder the third Monday in January got labelled Blue Monday and called the most depressing day of the year.
But the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary wants people to know that the day is a myth and it leads to misunderstandings about genuine mental illness.
According to the centre, suicide and depression rates are the same throughout the year.
“But the difference between the winter blahs, the January blahs and depression is huge,” said Mara Grunau, Calgary’s Centre for Suicide Prevention. “We don’t want to trivialize depression. When we talk about depression, clinical depression or a major depressive disorder, people facing that face that all the time. It’s not something that can be cured with a new pair of shoes or a sunny holiday.”
Despite the circumstances, you still may have an overwhelming sadness caused by seasonal affective disorder, or ‘SAD’. It’s thought that the disorder may be caused by a lack of sunlight, but that’s not the whole answer, because it’s believed to run in families.
Common treatments for sad include counselling and medication but just getting more time outdoors can also help.
“The easy option is to stay on the couch and you just don’t feel good about yourself doing that,” said Liam. “It’s nice to get outside and get fresh air. After a half hour of getting your breath back you feel great. No January blues,” said Liam Tobin.
Calgarians enjoying the trails and bike paths say they’ll take the outdoors on a chilly day, hands down, over the gym.
“I feel that when you’re outside it’s more invigorating and you can’t beat the views when you’re in this part of the city but even if you’re in Fish Creek Park or Nose Hill, just being outside if you’re one step closer to nature,” said Mary Vlooswyk.
WATCH: On what some say is the most depressing day of the year, Gil Tucker talks with Calgarians “looking for a silver lining” alongside a “sign of the times”.
The idea of blue Monday dates back to a 2005 campaign by a travel company that wanted to encourage people to take January vacations.
But who needs Cancun when when you’ve got the Crescent Heights stairs and a sunny day!?
According to The Canadian Mental Health Association, two to three per cent of Canadians will experience seasonal affective disorder in their lifetime.