Did you know that the third Monday in January has been labeled ‘Blue Monday’ – the saddest day of the year? This year it falls on Monday, January 17th. Brace yourself.
It may seem arbitrary that on this one day we’re supposed to feel the most depressed, but it is based on a mathematical formula developed by Dr. Cliff Arnall. Plugging in variables like weather, amount of debt, time after the holiday indulgence, time since connecting with family, and time after New Year’s when resolutions are likely strained, this one day popped out as the gloomiest of all 365 days.
In case you’re wondering, the same formula declared the happiest day of the year to be July 14th. Thinking about that date now, it seems very far away, leading to the whisper that maybe there is some truth to ‘Blue Monday’. Is it real? Are we collectively sadder on the third Monday in January?
No. There is no such thing as 24-hour depression. With that said, know that the variables that went into the formula are contributors to mental health – factors like amount of sunlight and weather, amount of social connection with loved ones, external stressors like debt or weight gain, or feeling like a failure with not achieving desired goals.
But what a pop culture term like ‘Blue Monday’ can do is help raise awareness of mental health in general, and how right now, many are struggling. In fact, a survey conducted by Sun Life in August 2021 found that more than half of Canadians were suffering from a mental health issue. Furthermore, 62% of workers in Canada say that the number one issue affecting them negatively is emotional, mental, and physical fatigue.
These numbers are very concerning, particularly when we consider that even a mild or moderate case of anxiety or depression can significantly decrease the quality of life. In addition, the pandemic itself is a major stressor and can exacerbate any symptoms of mental illness. Obviously, anyone in this state would strain to reach their full potential at work and wouldn’t produce their best work. If left untreated, these symptoms are unlikely to dissipate and can grow to become debilitating.
Given that so many people are suffering with mental health, why don’t we hear about it more often?
There are many potential reasons why someone struggling would do so in silence, and here are 6 of them:
The reasons why someone chooses to suffer in silence reflect many of the widely held misconceptions about mental health problems.
Here are 5 features of all mental health problems:
Suffering in silence is never the answer, and movements like Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk’ and introducing terms like ‘Blue Monday’ only help raise awareness of this growing crisis. It presents an opportunity for leaders to serve as a source of support for any workers who need help with mental health. It doesn’t mean that leaders need to become therapists, nor do they need to overhaul how they do business.
However, here are 5 adjustments that leaders can make that will have a big impact on the mental health of workers:
No one deserves to suffer through a mental health issue in silence. We want leaders to ensure their workers can thrive and we’re here to help in any way we can. Please contact us at email@example.com. Let’s work together and create solutions that work best for you and your organization.
Returning to work: Prioritizing mental health. Journal of Accountancy, Sept 11, 2020 https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/sep/returning-work-coronavirus-mental-health.html