Blue Monday: Leeds residents are generally happy with their lot

OFFICIAL statistics show Leeds residents are slightly happier with their lot than the rest of the UK as the city faces what is supposedly the most depressing day of the year today on what has been dubbed '˜Blue Monday.'

Monday, 15th January 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 12:05 pm

Memories of Christmas parties and lazy days spent overindulging on food and drink are fading fast, but credit card bills and expanding waistlines are a grim reality along with the cold and dull January weather.

The factors of weather, debt level, the amount of time since Christmas, failing new years resolutions and low motivational levels all add up to ‘Blue Monday.’

It was dreamt up by a PR company – with the first one being in January 2005 – and has been criticised by mental health charity Mind for ‘trivialising depression.’

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Blue Monday.

There was a small increase in Leeds residents’ feeling of wellbeing in 2016/17, according to Office For National Statistics data.

More than 100,000 adult UK residents were asked to answer questions on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘completely.’
The first question was: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”

Results for Leeds show a score of 7.74 compared to a UK average of 7.68. The results for Leeds to the question last year was 7.68.

People were also asked: “To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?”

Blue Monday.

Results for Leeds were 7.88 in 2016/17 compared to a UK average of 7.86.

Leeds scored a fraction below the national average for the question: “Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday where ‘0’ is not at all and ‘10’ is completely happy?”

The Leeds result for 2016/17 was 7.50, compared to the national average of 7.51. People in Leeds were more upbeat than the previous year, when the result from the same question was 7.41.

Stephen Buckley, head of information for mental health charity Mind, said: “Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening.

“One in six people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts.”

“There is no credible evidence to suggest that one day in particular can increase the risk of people feeling depressed. There are of course certain things that may make people feel down at this time of year, such as post-Christmas financial strains, broken new year’s resolutions, bad weather and short daylight hours. However, depression is not just a one day event.

“We want to remind people that depression can happen at any time and that Mind is available to help people throughout the year. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one then it is important to seek support.”

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Rather than seeing it as the day from Hell, career coach Corinne Mills says Blue Monday is the perfect moment to take action that can turn your career around for the better, writes Gary Flockhart.

“It’s been a bad day, please don’t take my picture”. So sings Michael Stipe on the REM hit Bad Day.

But it’s not only pop stars who get down in the dumps.

We’ve all had a bad day at the office at one time or another, whether it’s due to problems with a co-worker, a barely-manageable workload, or an overly-demanding boss.

Are you having a bad day today? If so, join the club. It is, after all, Blue Monday.

Based on calculations on a number of factors such as the weather, debt level and failing new year’s resolutions, the third Monday in January is perceived to be the most depressing day of the most depressing month of the year.

Hang in there, though, because things aren’t quite as doomy and gloomy as they sound. Indeed, according to Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach: How To Plan Your Career And Land Your Perfect Job, there are steps you can take to beat the Blue Monday blues. First of all, you need to work out what’s not working career-wise,” says Corinne. “Sometimes you just feel kind of fed up with your job - and supposedly these feelings are intensified on Blue Monday. But actually, it might be that your job kind of works but there’s just something you’re not too keen on, or someone at work has irritated you.

“Sometimes there are small tweaks that you can do that can make a difference,” she continues. “The solution isn’t necessarily ‘out there somewhere’, it can be right under your nose.

“The first thing to look at is, ‘What are the small wins?’ What can you do today that might make a difference? That might be having a bit of a constructive chat with the colleague who’s been irritating you for months.

“You can rehearse this beforehand and make it a clear-the-air conversation.

“Say something like: ‘I’m making new year resolutions for 2018 and I’d really like to talk to you about how best we might work together in the year ahead’.

“It’s something positive and constructive - but actually, it sets the tone for going forward.”

“Equally, you might be resenting something your manager has done - and Blue Monday can be the day you straighten things out.

“Go and have a civil conversation with them to express a little bit how you are feeling,” says Corinne. “Just make sure you’re not angry when you have these talks - and make sure you rehearse it beforehand. Again, I think that clearing the air, rather than harbouring the 2017 resentment, is good for 2018. So make Blue Monday the day you tackle these issues.”