Preparing yourself for ‘Blue Monday’

blue monday TSA glasgow the student advertiserSure, all Monday’s are crap, but did you know that there is a bad Monday to rule them all?

Does anything sound significant about the third Monday of January? Probably not, but in 2005, Sky Travel worked out that this is usually the most depressing day of the year. So no, I don’t mean the funky, classic, 1983 New Order single “Blue Monday”, but if your Monday is ever blue I suggest popping it on. Might just lift your spirits.

Shall we take a moment to think of January? We’re all just getting back into the swing of things – work, school, college, which includes exams. We’re all a bit skint from a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, and usually, the weather’s just terrible too.

In a press release, the holiday company Sky Travel announced that the first Blue Monday was January 24, 2005. Blue Monday’s date is usually the third Monday of January, but is occasionally considered to be the second or fourth as well. But how do we work out which Monday is the bluest? Thank god, there’s a complicated mathematical equation to help us.

The first one was used from 2006 (after the original press release) to 2009 (after a second press release); to calculate the date, it used variables such as time spent on cultural activities, time spent relaxing and time spent sleeping. But that’s old news. The current one uses variables like weather, how much debt you might be in, your monthly salary, time since Christmas, and as if the mere fact that you’re being forced to use weird maths isn’t bad enough, the equation asks you to quantify how much time it has been since failing your new year’s resolutions. Nice.

blue monday TSA glasgow the student advertiserYes, I tried the equation. No, it made very little to no sense. No units were defined in the press releases publishing these equations, which makes quantifying “motivational levels” and “the feeling of the need to take action” all the more difficult. Back on Blue Monday, 2013 (January 21), Dean Burnett of the Guardian basically described it a “depressing day of nonsense science,” and in his article, threw in the equations to the perfect first date and best late night junk food in the spirit of being silly.

The whole idea of Blue Monday is a pseudoscience, meaning it claims to be scientific but does not adhere to the scientific method. As mentioned earlier, mid-January is when things start piling back up, so it makes sense for Blue Monday to be particularly depressing. But really? There’s no scientific proof behind it.

Enough about using maths to work out when you should scientifically be feeling down – ice cream to the rescue. Walls’, the ice cream company, commissioned a press release with the purpose of working out the happiest day of the year.

From 2005 to 2010, the happiest day of the year has always fallen between the 15th and 25th of June. This is midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere – the dog days, when we’re all that little bit freer, lazy, and, well, happier! (Again, total pseudoscience).  

Now let’s talk about Blue Monday and how students can relate to it and combat it.

For people at college or University, tests and exams can be a challenging part of student life. However there are easy and healthy ways to cope with exam stress. People who are stressed will be irritable and may experience not sleeping well, a loss of interest in eating, worry a lot and appear depressed or negative. They may also experience headaches and stomach pains.

For those suffering from stress during exam time there are some tips to help you stay healthy and still get through this distressing time.

blue monday TSA glasgow the student advertiserMake sure your eating and drinking well. A balanced diet is vital to your health and can help you feel well during the exam period. Keep your blood sugar levels steady so that you don’t have energy dips during the day and can also sleep well at night. Avoid a lot of processed and sugary foods and stick to lean proteins and carbs as they will release their energy slowly. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, low calorie drinks and or herbal teas to feel more alert.

Make sure you get enough sleep. A good sleep will improve your thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need between eight and ten hours sleep at night. Also allow yourself an hour or so to wind down between studying. Watching TV or going onto the computer will help you chill out before you go to bed. Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea. Getting a good night’s sleep will benefit you more than a few hours quickly studying at the last minute.

Get your parents to be flexible during exams. When your revising all day you shouldn’t have to worry about the household jobs you would normally (not) be doing.

Remember exams don’t last forever. Use your time wisely. Most students leave studying to the last minute which isn’t healthy and won’t help you during your exams. Work out how much time you have to revise in between subjects and make a revision schedule. This will help you to give all of your subject’s time for study and you can also have some time to yourself.

Talk to someone about exam nerves. Feeling anxious is normal during exams. The key is to put these nerves to positive use. By being reminded by someone that you do know what you have studied and that you have put in a lot of time and effort to study will help make you feel more confident.

Exercise during exams. Make sure you stay active during exams and aren’t sitting starring at books all day. Exercising can help boost your energy levels, clear your mind and relive stress. Walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.

Reward yourself. When exams are over organise with your friends an end of exams treat. Celebrating how hard your work has paid off and you have got through your exams will help you feel a lot better.

Whilst it’s natural to feel the winter blues in January, if you are experiencing signs of depression please seek advice or visit your GP. 


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