WHETHER you choose to believe the media hype or not, today is the day branded as Blue Monday.
Occurring around the third Monday in January, it’s the exact day when the bills from Christmas will start dropping through the letterbox, reality kicks in that there’s still weeks to go before pay day and statistically you’ll probably have broken most, if not all, your New Year resolutions. Throw in the fact it’s Monday, the most dreaded day of any week, and add in some miserable weather for good measure, and sure, all the ingredients are there for this to be a be a very blue day indeed.
According to reports from mental health charities, there is a spike in people reporting depression and anxiety symptoms around this time, and debt management groups also report an increase in referrals towards the end of this month, so there may be some truth in it all, despite sceptics pinpointing Blue Monday as nothing more than an advertising stunt to get people to book holidays in the sun.
So what if today is the day many of our friends, family and neighbours will be struggling? Maybe you are finding today a difficult day yourself. What can we do?
How about we try and counter Blue Monday by disarming the negativity that so many seem to be experiencing?
On the day when many are worried about finance – could we take this opportunity to demonstrate generosity? Proverbs 11:24-31 says the world of the stingy only gets smaller but the world of the generous man gets larger and larger. Why don’t you consider making an extra portion of your evening meal tonight and take it to a friend, or someone on their own? Or maybe, if you have the resource to allow it, pay for someone’s shopping at the check out. You could even initiate a ‘pay it forward’ scheme by leaving a gift with a card, asking them to repay the random act of kindness by doing the same for another. There’s no better each to feel better than by helping another.
On the day when many are feeling isolated and lonely – could we take this opportunity to extend a hand of friendship? Mark 12:31 talks about us loving our neighbour as ourself. I like to flip that on its head and think how would I want to be treated? Well let’s treat others like that. And if I was feeling isolated and lonely then what would I like someone to do for me? Maybe invite someone in for a coffee, talk to someone in the doctor’s waiting room or get in touch with a friend you may have lost contact with for a while. Why don’t you write a card out and post it to someone you have been thinking about? I know I always love receiving post that isn’t a bill!
On the day when many people are struggling to find hope for the future – could we commit to praying for them? Jeremiah 29 speaks of the good plans God has for us. Maybe we just need to take the time to pray over our friends and then for an opportunity to share with them that you have been thinking of them.
Blue Monday could very easily be changed to You Monday – the day when YOU step up and make a difference to those who need it most. Have a great day… Whose life will you impact today?