Feeling blue? Student’s guide to dealing with Blue Monday

Here’s how to survive this winter’s blues!

There are many reasons why you may be feeling blue right now. Nowadays, students are – more than ever – vulnerable to feeling depressed. Indeed, living your university years through a global pandemic and returning lockdowns is getting harder and harder. On top of it all, today is labelled as Blue Monday: the third Monday of January, which some companies have categorised as the most depressing day of the year. Is that all a scam or is there any truth to it?

  1. COVID Blues

The past two years have marked a period during which a rapidly increasing number of students have experienced negative feelings: students’ greatest pain point during the quarantine seems to be the strain on their mental health. Moreover, with the start of a new academic year the numbers have increased significantly: 68 percent of students stated that their mental health got worse compared with the spring and 69 percent have reported (often) feeling depressed.

The world is still dealing with a pandemic and students’ lives have been greatly affected by this. You’ve barely had a moment to breathe for the holidays and all that has ended in a flash; now you’re thrown back into distant learning.

  1. Blue Monday – don’t get fooled!

The 17th of January is this year’s Blue Monday, which is said to be the saddest day of the year. However, this was debunked as a myth, and it was uncovered that what started as an intelligent PR stunt is now very deteriorating people’s mental health. Companies might use this scheme to create a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ that gets you to believe you’re depressed to buy products you might not need otherwise. The best thing to do is protect yourself from them by knowing your facts.

People might perceive and deal with depression in different ways, depending on their cultures and daily habits. Psychologist Cliff Arnall, the one who coined the Blue Monday theory, revealed that he was asked to come up with it by a travel agency to boost their winter deals. Still, you might ask, does this theory hold any truth to it?

  1. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Part of the basis for the Blue Monday campaign was the fact that some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to Mayo Clinic, this is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. They state that “in most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer.” This does not mean that you should dismiss signs of depression as bad weather blues, that would be diminishing the experience of people who are suffering from depression. Alternatively, a person with depression might ignore their symptoms, making it harder to reach out for help.

  1. Get help

If you are struggling, do not hesitate to ask for help. Apart from educating yourself on the issue, the most important part is reaching out to your GP and student support.

However, if you are still feeling low, don’t beat yourself up! We’re all going through some rough times and deserve to take some time to make ourselves feel better. Some ideas are:

  • Take a break and let some sunlight in on a daily walk.
  • Exercise daily: it’s difficult, but you don’t have to follow a full-on intense workout every day. It can be just a quick dance experimental jumping around or dance session. Make sure to get your blood flowing every day.
  • Eating a balanced diet and not skipping any meals can really be a game-changer when it comes to depression and anxiety.
  • Listening to music: it has been proved that music can improve mood and reduce anxiety

Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.