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Skipping Blue Monday

It is easy to understand why the 18th January, and in particular 18th January 2021 could be positioned as the most depressing day of the year, ever. The weather is cold and damp, any escape from pandemic restrictions seem about as far off as lounging by a beach in a warm country(anyone remember that?).

A controversial statement. There is of course no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ or the obligatory feelings of helplessness and despair that are supposed to accompany it. Like Valentine’s Day or pop-up screens assuring us that if we buy this herbal milkshake, we will be richer, happier and thinner – ‘Blue Monday’ is of course a clever marketing ploy designed by marketing agencies to make us feel bad about ourselves and ultimately – buy their product. I do not doubt that this particular day is perhaps not the easiest of days in which to feel good about yourself. Productivity ever since home working and home learning began for many of us has nosedived and that is not surprising but what I do doubt is the enforced need to be unhappy when all it takes is a few (free!) pro-active steps to ensure you have the happiest, most fulfilling day possible. So here is my take on how best to ensure you have a happy, productive 18th January:

Be strict with yourself and children. Set a timetable in the morning and do not veer from this. When the school timetable is all too laissez-faire, children will interpret this as a day-off and work ethic will plummet. Make sure you’re work/study day starts by sitting a table or desk and not the couch. The couch is both you and your children’s biggest enemy in achieving a productive day as it is so easy to get into a non-working mindset. Make sure you incorporate something enjoyable into the daily routine. In the morning, why not try a group workout session, or if you’re not morning people, no worries – make your children run to the park instead! If cooking is your family’s thing, ditch the sandwiches and make meatballs or something that cheers you all up so you’re as concentrated as possible for an afternoon of productive work. Little bursts of joy positioned throughout the day can really help put a lid on any dark thoughts. Incorporate creativity into the curriculum. Maths and English are important but so is painting and listening to music for young, impressionable minds. If you’re drowning in homework, put some classical music on or let the children assemble a Mechano model as part of their Maths lesson. Children often learn best when they can see a real life application to their school work. Let the children talk with their friends and family. Given the circumstances I know this isn’t easy. Give their cousins a surprise call or ask them to say one nice thing about their sibling before you start learning. Along with exercise, human interaction has been proven to improve people’s mental well-being. As much as clever marketing companies would like us to believe, we are not robots programmed to spend hours in-front a computer screen. The solution to combating any dark thoughts today lies with you. So go on, log yourself and your children off from the internet and make yourselves happy!


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