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Today is Blue Monday, considered by some to be the saddest day of 2019. But, is it really? 

Jenn Kulpa is a mental health worker with Southern Health. She explains Blue Monday originated in 2005 after a man from Wales developed a formula to try and identify what the most depressing day of the year is. His formula took several factors into consideration, including post-Christmas debt, weather and levels of motivation. In the end, he determined there is no day of the year that is more depressing than the third Monday of January.

2018 12 kulpaJenn KulpaBut Kulpa says this formula has been debunked. In fact, she says Blue Monday came out of a marketing campaign by a travel company looking to boost business by encouraging people that they would feel good by travelling.

"It is silly to think that one day of the year would universally be more depressing than any others," shares Kulpa.

However, she admits there are certain factors this time of year that are valid triggers for low mood. These factors can include overspending at Christmas, returning to regular life after the end of holidays, cold weather, short daylight hours and failed New Year's resolutions.

Kulpa suggests we rather examine how we can make today positive. She challenges us to make today a day to practice self-care, which can include doing something we don't normally do. Kulpa says take time today to read a book or do a hobby you haven't been getting to.

"Making sure we get exercise, so don't worry about whether you will be motivated again tomorrow, but just for one day decide you are going to get active," adds Kulpa. "This might be going for a walk, maybe it's taking a yoga class, going skating."

Further to that, Kulpa says it is very important to practice gratitude. She suggests taking a few minutes to make a list of five things you are thankful for. And, rather than beat yourself up over a broken resolution, why not congratulate yourself on something you recently did well.

"Do a good deed for somebody, call a friend, maybe shovel a neighbour's driveway," she says. "There's lots of things that can be done that kind of help boost us up and maybe push aside some of those low feelings."

Kulpa notes it is important to remember to not only look after ourselves when we are feeling down but to also practice healthy habits when we are feeling good.

"This will kind of give us that resilience and ability to kind of be equipped for those days when we are feeling blue," she says.

And finally, Kulpa says just changing your mindset can go a long way. If you are returning to work today after being on holidays, tell yourself that today will be a good day, that you will be productive and that you will not think about being tired.

If you need extra help because of a low mood, Southern Health has a crisis line at 1-888-617-7715.

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