The low peak on “Blue Monday” is not real, but the winter blues, on the other hand, are. Here’s what to do to fix it.
Par Paige Smith et Pauline Brault
Mykyta Dolmatov via Getty Images
This Monday, January 16 is called “Blue Monday”, it is considered the “most depressing day of the year”.
LIFE – The Storm « Gérard » hits France, the winter cold sets in, the holidays are over, and… the weekend is over. There are many reasons to be in low spirits this Monday, January 16 and we would like to put all our worries on the back of the « Blue Monday ». Yes, tomorrow is « Lundi blues » in French, this famous day described as “the most depressing of the year”.
But is there really a day more gloomy than the others? No, it is in fact only a hypothesis formulated in 2005 by the doctor of psychologyCliff Arnall. The latter established a formula that takes into account factors such as the weather to determine the « Blue Monday ». His study quickly became the centerpiece of an advertising campaign by the British travel agency Sky Travel aimed at encouraging holiday bookings.
This mathematical demonstration is therefore only a marketing ploy. But behind this myth, hides a winter depression which can be very real. According toJosh Klapowclinical psychologist and co-host of the radio show “The Webit is generally characterized by a lack of energy and a tendency to irritability, sadness and apathy.
different from “seasonal depression”
LeDr Marc Leaveyan internal medicine specialist at Mercy Medical Center in New York, explains that « certaines [personnes] are more sensitive than others to the seasonal changes that cause winter blues”, such as cold and shorter days. Dr. Klapow also cites a lack of activity, change in diet or exercise habits, financial problems, sudden bereavement or family problems as all potential reasons.
However, the winter blues should not be confused withseasonal affective disorder(TAS), which is also often referred to as “seasonal depression”. According to psychologist Klapow, simple depression is less severe and less lasting than SAD, whose symptoms can include sadness, irritability, disturbed sleep, changes in appetite, feeling discouraged, problems concentrating, loss of interest in usually enjoyed activities and suicidal ideation.
“It is a real health problem which can certainly find its source in the same environmental conditions as the simple seasonal blues, but remains much more serious and requires medical attention”insists Dr. Leavey.
After confirming that you are only suffering from a seasonal blues, several simple strategies can help you smile again. Here are some tips recommended by the experts.
Exercising, eating well and sleeping
Under the influence of depression, one may be tempted to stay hibernating on the couch. But for Doctor Leavey, it is essential to continue to go out to expose yourself to the sun… even if it seems to the absent subscribers.
Insufficient or disturbed sleep is an importantdepression factor, points out Dr. Klapow, who recommends getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. And without exception. “Resting and returning to a regular sleep cycle has a restorative effect that contributes to the stabilization of the emotional state”he says.
We are much more reluctant to exercise during the winter, but according to Dr. Klapow, physical exercise can have an impressive impacton our energyand our way of looking at life. Preliminary research confirms this: a study in the journalPain Medicinea constaté queten minutes of exerciseenough to improve morale and reduce anxiety.
“The food we favor has an impact on our energy, our sleep and our immune system”, also warns Dr. Klapow. A pastry for breakfast or a break at your favorite fast food will certainly bring you comfort in the moment, but regular consumption of this type of food risks harming your health, and evenyour long-term mental health. Studies show that unhealthy fast food, such asexcessive alcohol consumptionetsugar(notably in sodas and desserts), is associated withincreased vulnerability to depression.
Finally, the social bond is also essential to avoid falling into depression. Dr. Klapow points out that the relationship with the other can serve as a shield against the symptoms of depression, because this exchange solicits our mind and our emotions. But the main advice of the doctor is not to feel guilty. “In the middle of the winter blues, you can feel full of energy one day and down to earth the next… And that’s normal!” »
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