15 years ago, the third Monday of January was dubbed ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Ever since, people across the globe (or at least the internet) became aware of the phrase ‘Blue Monday’.
A New Year brings new excitement, expectation and opportunity; it can also be a pretty difficult time. In the last month alone we have witnessed political disputes, rumours of war and familial breakdowns, so on the first Blue Monday of the decade I can understand why a lot of us might be feeling… blue. However, there are small steps we can take to not let that feeling overwhelm us.
These are simple steps, rooted in biblical truth that should sustain us on any day of the year.
Step 1: Be grateful
Sometimes fighting against your feelings can be as simple as re-focussing your attention. It’s easy to forget how blessed we are in the midst of the challenges that we face. So instead of looking solely at what you don’t have, why not start being grateful for the things that you do have? List them one by one and say what you like about each one specifically. You might just find yourself starting to feel a bit happier.
Step 2: Be glad
I know. The last thing you need is someone tell you to be glad when you aren’t feeling glad.
Psalm 118:24 says 'This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.' The second half of that verse is an imperative which suggests that David’s choice to be glad was a decision, not a feeling. If you don’t feel that you can find the strength to jump for joy, try just smiling. Smiling releases endorphins in the body which make you feel better and help to lower stress levels – a quick win.
Step 3: Be a blessing
One of the easiest ways for us to lift our eyes off our troubles is to focus on how we can help someone else. Why not share a smile with someone. You could make a colleague cup of tea; cook for a friend or even give to charity! Whatever you are able to do, do it. By sowing seeds of generosity to others, we reap a harvest of joy for ourselves.
We may not be able to change the circumstances that our making us feel down, but we can definitely choose how to respond to them.