The sun is shining in London, presents are piling up under the tree, you’ve eaten more chocolate than you can handle at this point, and Christmas is less than a week away. The holiday season is in full swing and many of us are basking in its glow. It’s therefore hard to imagine that just a month from now, the most depressing day of the year will emerge. “Blue Monday”, which will fall on the 19th of January in 2015, was created as part of a publicity campaign in the UK to get people to book holidays and takes into account factors such as days since Christmas, weather conditions, debt accumulated, and days since you gave up on your New Year’s resolutions to determine which short day in January is the most gloomy of them all. Although Blue Monday is largely regarded by scientists as “nonsense”, as the holiday season quickly passes us by, it’s important to remember that even though the magic of Christmas will soon be gone, we must maintain a level of mindfulness when it comes to communication, even as spirits drop.

Even if Blue Monday is a bit of a hoax, as things go, it is easy to understand why it is that January can be filled with both optimism and new beginnings but can also be such a downer. The holidays have passed, the mulled wine has run out, and yet there are still months of cold and darkness remaining before the warmth of spring starts popping its head through the door. It’s a time when it’s easy to succumb to the gloominess of mid-winter. But despite wanting to curl up in a ball and watch Netflix for days at a time, relationships in our lives must continue, and it is important to make sure that they are not negatively impacted by our moods during this time of year. The short days and low temperatures of January can easily lead to impatience, emotional outbursts, withdrawal, among others. During this period we must be especially mindful of communicating our thoughts in a constructive, positive manner that ensures that conversations will be as helpful for all parties as possible.

Relationships can be difficult to maintain even during the sunniest, warmest, and most cheerful parts of the year. Emotions can be difficult to handle, and while we can perhaps control ourselves, it is wholly impossible to get a handle on another person who has sovereign regulation of themselves. Combine that with what Blue Monday represents, and things can easily get out of hand. Mindfulness refers to the ability to give complete and whole attention to the present moment, focusing and reflecting on thoughts, resulting in clearer speculations and more constructive communication. One must be mindful to act in relationships in a manner that does not create strife between individuals, but rather showcases thoughts and ideas in a positive manner. Conflicts, once existing, and conversations must be reflected upon and thoroughly considered in order to develop a response or solution that addresses the issues represented without digging deeper holes or tapping at nerves. Just because the holiday season is coming to a close doesn’t mean that the festive cheer should die completely. January can be a difficult month, but conscious mindfulness and reflection can help the period pass without difficult just in time for flowers to start blooming with the promise of spring.

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By Tracey Fox

A Psychologist by training, Tracey worked in various clinical and neurological rehabilitation positions before combing her genuine interest in people with that of organisational behaviour. Tracey joined CEDR in 2002 and is a Consultant within the Skills team. Since becoming a CEDR Accredited Mediator in 2003 she has mediated and assisted with disputes from a ranging commercial contracts, employment, construction, academic, telecommunications and tenancy.