Students at Huddersfield University baked cakes to beat Blue Monday – and raised more than £70 for the Katie Piper Foundation. The bake day was organised by journalism student Siobhan Southern who has several friends who have been treated for burns and scars. The Katie Piper Foundation was set up to make a difference to burns survivors. Siobhan enlisted the help of Debbie Lloyd, Laura Dandy, Nathalie Ku, Christiaan von Hohenzollern and Matt Davies to bake and sell cakes in the Journalism building on the Huddersfield campus. The Journalism and Media team have regularly risen to the challenge of Blue Monday – the third working Monday in January, said to be the most depressing day of the year. The annual “beat blue Monday” activities were started by Wakefield based PR guru Andy Green, who is a regular guest lecturer at the university. Last year, staff and students invited a Brazilian drummer to give them a demonstration and percussion lesson in the department’s TV studio. Ends Pic caption: Debbie, Nathalie, Siobhan and Christiaan with the last of the cakes For further information please contact Siobhan on 07864648076 www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk http://www.beatbluemonday.org.uk/
A Brazilian drummer from Yorkshire is leading a nationwide campaign to encourage everyone to use everyday office items to create their own office samba bands to help beat the Blue Monday blues on ‘the most depressing day of the year’ on Monday January 16th.
Claudio has produced a special video showing how to transform everyday office items from staplers, paper clips and waste bins into samba-sound creating rhythms at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngviv_37vzY .
According to Batley-based percussionist Claudio Kron doBrazileveryone has a natural rhythm and by using ordinary items, such as staplers to create a cha-cha-cha rhythm, paperclips to produce a shaking sound, and waste bins for bongos, the downbeat workplace can be transformed into a fun carnival atmosphere.
By creating a common rhythm Claudio believes the resulting upbeat sounds works as a drum therapy to help bring people together and take their minds off depressing thoughts
A special campaign web site, www.beatbluemonday.org.uk is offering practical advice to tackle the effects of Blue Monday, the symbolic date for the low point in the year, along with a special ‘5 stage Binge Happiness Work-Out’ programme to help people to make themselves happier.
Campaigners are aiming to reduce stigma associated with depression by talking about it and using the day as a springboard to improve quality of life by promoting and encouraging more happiness.
Blue Monday has evolved from an idea originally conceived by Cliff Arnall, formerly of Cardiff University, who created a mathematical formula to identify a number of the elements contributing to a general feeling of mid winter blues.
The syndrome was first defined by Cliff Arnall, formerly ofCardiffUniversity, and marks the third week of January when people suffer from a series of combined depressive effects (see below for the mathematical formula).
Commenting on his efforts to encourage everyone to create their own workplace carnival Claudio said: “I believe that if your heart beats you can play the drums. The Carnival has proved time and time again to be the greatest event for making people happy – by using both drumming and carnival we can help everyone triumph on Blue Monday.”
Claudio kron doBrazilis a percussionist, songwriter, dancer and poet fromBahiainBrazilwho came to theUKin 1996. He now performs and runs percussion workshops all over the world and works with community groups and businesses to spread his philosophy of the power of percussion to create harmony, happiness and health.
His flowing dreadlocks and ability to engage audiences into the world of drumming have become his trademarks.
Further details about how to overcome ‘Blue Monday’ and how you can do your bit to help charity can be found at the website: www.beatbluemonday.org.uk. The public is also being urged to submit their own creative ideas for beating the January blues to the site.
Ceci ne’st pas Blue Monday: What proof is there that Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year?
Blue Monday has been described by campaigners as symbolically ‘the most depressing day of the year’. It is supported by Andy Green, who runs the campaign on a completely non-commercial basis. He happens to think it is a good idea and has potential to raise create interest in mental health and well-being issues.
Yet the original idea was not even Andy’s
How did it come about?
Back in 2005 a London-based public relations agency created a campaign for its tour holiday client, highlighting what it claimed to have found ‘the most depressing day of the year’. The story used a formula devised by Cliff Arnall a former researcher, lecturer and post graduate tutor at the Medical and Dental School of Cardiff University.
Cliff Arnall devised the following mathematical formula:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x Na
The model was broken down using six immediately identifiable factors; weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and the feeling of a need to take action (Na).
The formula inspired the idea as the day being ‘the most depressing day of the year’, when the Christmas glow has faded away, New Year’s resolutions have been broken, cold Winter weather has set in and credit cardbills will be landing on doormats across the land – and the January pay-cheque seems some way away.
Independently, Andy Green, a creativity and brand PR expert got involved with the story by issuing his own response to the media providing motivational tips and advice on how to overcome ‘the most depressing day of the year’.
For 2006 Andy approached the agency which commissioned the original survey. When he discovered they had no plans to repeat the idea he asked and obtained their approval to use and develop their initial idea.
With the further blessing of Cliff Arnall he developed the concept and brand of ‘Blue Monday’, highlighting the third Monday in January as symbolically ‘the most depressing day of the year’. (‘Symbolical’ being a crucial fact here.)
With his professional expertise in memes – ideas and information which is able to replicate itself and a personal interest in mental health issues (Andy’s younger brother is profoundly autistic) coupled with a desire for creating positive good in society, Andy recognised the potential of the situation: to cook a meme which act as a vehicle to promote social good, and as a peg to create attention, discussion and debate around mental health issues.
The idea of Blue Monday has grown and grown into a worldwide phenomena; each year there is global media and social media interest in the story.
Why is this?
The simple answer is that it is because people want it to be.
The beat Blue Monday campaign uses the minimum of resource (just spending about £30 on hosting its WordPress web site and usually just issuing one press release to announce Blue Monday is taking place.
We are witnessing a powerful meme – ideas and information which are able to replicate themselves virally.
Using scientific method you cannot prove an hypothesis from observation, you can only disprove it.
So, where is the evidence that Blue Monday is ‘the most depressing day of the year’?
There is no data to quantify the mood and state of people’s thinking on the particular day of ‘Blue Monday’. (Defined by the psychologist Cliff Arnall as usually being the third Monday of January.)
Although there are some indirect data – one network of life coaches, for example, reported a significant increase in trade in this period – there is no hard ‘fact’ it seems that Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year.
More significantly, Andy Green believes he has collected ‘data’, albeit of an informal kind: since 2006 the story of Blue Monday has grown and grown in terms of scale of media coverage and its ability to replicate with ease, with just the tiniest of promptings.
The take-up of the story and the ability of the story to replicate itself is indicative of some underlying fact, yet to be defined and validated by data
This, suggests some evidence, of an as yet, undefined mass phenomena, a zeitgeist – a mood of a time.
Cliff Arnall with his initial pinpointing of a date, and the later branding and wider message associated with ‘Blue Monday’ by Andy could unwittingly have been triggers for uncovering an undiscovered phenomenon.
Why is Christmas Day on December 25th? A common held theory is that the early Christians merely piggy-backed on an existing Pagan ritual of celebrating mid winter. Seemingly, our forefathers and foremothers perhaps wanted some cheering up in the middle of a bleak season in the northern hemisphere.
Linking the event of a pagan celebration with another underlying issue created a bigger occasion. The underpinning rationale was presumably to cheer people up in response to an undefined, no data-collected zeitgeist of people feeling fed up, a feeling of discontentment in mid winter.
‘Blue Monday’ Andy suggest, could merely be a further, perhaps a further tremor on the Richter scale of unhappiness, a minor wave of discontentment, a month after the mid-winter celebrations (now labelled ‘Christmas’).
Perhaps abetted by modern phenomena, such as the monthly pay check, the monthly on-coming of the credit card bill, and a social more of creating New Year’s resolutions, it all helps create a further wave of discontentment.
The additional dimension of many people receiving their December pay cheque on Christmas Eve, is good news for having money for the festivities but bad news in making January a ‘five week month’ in terms of pay: your monthly salary has to extend to a further week.
Sure, there is no data to support this theory. Yet, where is the statistical data to substantiate the theory about mid winter blues timing with the Christmas period?
The idea of a ‘Blue Monday’ may not be understandable to a scientific mind based on evidence, verifiable hypothesis, to arrive at a ‘fact’ which is accepted by the relevant dominant group in society.
We would suggest the potency of the Blue Monday meme – the ability of the story to replicate itself since launched in 2006 is an intellectual touchstone for justifying Blue Monday, offering a clue to a possible Zeitgeist. At present its validation may just be a form of informed common sense
The debate around the scientifically defining Blue Monday has stimulated Andy Green’s interest in a bigger, wider issue. What Andy calls ‘Compound Scientific Illiteracy’ and the need for non-scientists to play a part in promoting greater understanding of science.
He has written an ebook ‘Science Phobia’ – beta copies available on request.
Here, the issues of the facts of emotion, story-telling and how ideas spread all need to be considered. But that is another story.
One further image to conclude with. You are probably familiar with the great surrealist artist Rene Magritte and his work ‘La Trahison des Images’ (The Treachery of Images) or ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe).
In the spirit of Magritte we would declare that Monday January 16th can be described as ‘Ceci est Blue Monday’. But also ‘Ceci n’est pas Blue Monday’ – that’s our hypothesis – and we are standing by it. I am not sure many scientists will be comfortable with this.
Make a note in your new diary;Monday 16th January 2012is Blue Monday.
A combination of the cold weather, debt, time since Christmas and failing New Year resolutions makes this date notionally the most depressing day of the year, “Blue Monday”.
But, rather than hiding under the duvet, Blue Monday has been reclaimed as a day to banish the winter blues by encouraging people to do random acts of kindness and make everyone feel a little bit more cheerful.
Organisations across Britainwill be out to put a smile on the face of the nation under the watchful eye of the people at www.bluemonday.org.
The website showcases the best of Blue Monday and provides encouragement for others wanting to run a Blue Monday event. This could be having a chat with a neighbour for the first time, baking a cake for work colleagues, registering to be a blood donor or something more ambitious.
Getting on Board:
National Union of Students (NUS) www.nus.org.uk
Arts Agenda www.artsagenda.co.uk
Two for Joy Art www.twoforjoyart.com
Peace One Day www.peaceoneday.org
Further Education Colleges in Kent (CanterburyCollege, K College,ThanetCollege,Mid-KentCollege)
Check out some coverage last year at: http://youtu.be/2kAY4R9YxQY
— ENDS —
Notes for Editors
More information about Blue Monday can be found at www.bluemonday.org
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 811328
The Blue Monday project is curated byCanterburyCollegeinspired by an idea from People United.
CanterburyCollegeis a major provider of Further and Higher Education courses and training inKent,Englandwith more than 12000 students each year (approx. 4000 full-time and 8000 part-time) and 800 staff. The College is situated near the centre ofCanterbury, a city with a large student population. www.canterburycollege.ac.uk
People United is an arts organisation and charity that creates imaginative projects that inspire kindness www.peopleunited.org.uk
No brainer for great PR for anyone involved in promoting greater understanding of mental health issues – and Rule #2 for Press Offices
With this year’s Blue Monday due on Monday January 16th this is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in mental health issues to gain valuable media coverage and even fund-raising opportunities.
Here’s a great example from the Edinburgh Evening News on getting extensive coverage – linking the forthcoming Blue Monday with the issue of seasonal depression and the work of the Samaritans.
The reason why it is a great opportunity is that we are faced with a meme – a self-replicating idea where astute communicators can harness and ride to promote their particular story.
Blue Monday has entered the infosphere as the symbolic ‘most depressing day’. It is there whether you like it or not.
It provides an opportunity where the media can either come to you, or be more receptive to re-visiting your on-going story as it has a topicality with the arrival of the meme. (Imagine it is a bit like Haley’s Comet, arriving on the scene, generating immediate interest in what it is, represents and how it engages with people.)
Rule #1 for any Press Office should be to respond quickly and effectively to any media enquiries from journalists.
Rule #2 for any Press Office should be identify any topicality – events, anniversaries and memes – which you can peg your story onto to gain coverage, interest and engagement.
So, if you work in promoting better understanding of mental health issues get cracking – Blue Monday is only five days away!
Transform how you feel by following this 5 stage workout to make you feel happier – especially on Blue Monday.
The 5 Step ‘Binge Happiness Work Out’ consists of:
Step 1 – write down four things over the last week which make you feel grateful. Then write and recapture how you felt about one of the best experiences or thing to happen to you in your life.
Step 2 – write about something good you have done for someone else.
Step 3 – write a short email or letter to someone who you like or care for. Why not tell them how good they are and why they are important to you?
Step 4 – make a list of your favourite places you have visited, or places you would like to go. Really imagine you are there.
Step 5 – write about your future where everything has gone as well as you have hoped. Also, think about the present, and make a note of four things that went really well for you during the last week.
Writing down positive feelings has been proven to beat just talking about them: scientists believe that writing encourages the creation of a story line and structure which helps people to make sense of what has happened in their past and encourages them to work towards finding solutions.
Talking however, is often unstructured, disorganized, and even chaotic. As a result, it can add a sense of confusion to your emotional state.
Expressing gratitude, thinking about a perfect future, and affectionate writing have been scientifically proven to work, and all they require is a pen, piece of paper, and a few moments of your time.
In a psychological study by Laura King of Southern Methodist University it demonstrated the positive benefits of writing about their positive future. (L.A.King (2001) ‘The health benefits of writing about life goals’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (p798-807))
Have a go at the 5 Step Happiness Work Out – and share with us your experiences.
Beat Blue Monday 2012 is a completely non-commercial initiative. It highlights January 16th 2012 (which is the third Monday in January) as symbolically ‘the most depressing day of the year’.
With media and public interest in the idea of ‘the most depressing day’ it seemed a good idea to use the opportunity to promote greater understanding of mental health issues, and promote better mental well-being. It is also a great opportunity for mental health charities to raise valuable funds.
The idea for Blue Monday as a campaigning day for promoting a social good was developed by the Flexible Thinking Forum, a not-for-profit social enterprise set up by creativity expert Andy Green, with the support of his PR agency GREEN Communications
Imagine a day promoting better mental well-being, providing quality time to reflect on what’s good about life despite the circumstances adding up to the symbolically most depressing day of the year.
So, please make the most of the opportunity to turn the ‘most depressing day’ into a time for fun and enjoyment, but also greater reflection on serious issues such as depression, and mental well-being.
Share with us the things you are doing to beat Blue Monday, and help others to beat their personal Blue Mondays.