The Scam of Blue Monday Escapism
Trigger Warning: If you are struggling with depression, racial oppression, sexual assault and general hopelessness about the state of the world please take care of yourself. This blog post talks about some real heavy things, and it may be too much to continue reading.
The third Monday of every new year is labelled as Blue Monday. I’m sure you’ve all heard the term, and often it is used in advertising promotion for fun, sun filled destination trips, or perhaps when we discuss seasonal affective disorder (or SADs).
When you google Blue Monday there are a ton of helpful resources and information on why Blue Monday exists, what the term means and how to beat the winter blues. So… I won’t bore you with the details.
What I’d really like to talk about is the toxic culture that our society has created by advertising for those fun winter escape trips, and the reality many people face where we are stuck in depressive cycles of hopelessness.
In our previous blogs, we have shared some tangible tips on “how to” things, and obviously this edition isn’t the same. The intention of this post is to bring awareness, validate experiences and emotions, and call in. Call in the people struggling, call in the allies, and call in the people who are in positions of power (mentors, bosses, policy makers, etc). We NEED to acknowledge the state of the world and how it’s affecting us and our peers, and we need to normalize struggle without escape.
The last few years have been hard. HARD. In case you have been avoiding the news let’s recap quickly. 2020 brought us unprecedented bush fires and the continued reminder about global warming; COVID-19, stay at home orders and social distancing; political conflict in the United States; Brexit; a recession; a mass shooting in Nova Scotia; murder hornets; George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many Black Americans murdered which triggered the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2021 mass graves were discovered at Residential Schools which triggered the commencement of Every Child Matters; a riot occurred in the US Capital; the US troops left Afghanistan which led to a takeover by the Taliban; and COVID-19 continued to wreak havoc. And in 2022 protests occurred in Canada regarding the vaccination mandates and COVID- protocols; War was declared between Russia and the Ukraine; inflation and subsequent rising interest rates financially strained the world; Monkeypox was introduced; new abortion laws were created around the world; Queen Elizabeth II died; and protests for female and democratic rights erupted in Iran.
And I am sure many other things I have neglected to mention. Although each one of these events do not impact each of us on a personal level, they contribute to the overall fragile state of the world.
Now let’s factor in the personal struggles and challenges we have all experienced; loss of a job, death of a family member, virtual schooling, isolation, languishing or depression, and so on.
When we are living in a heightened state of trauma, a perpetual state of trauma OF COURSE it would be nice to escape our reality. Buy a trip, turn off our phones and just go sit on the beach for a few days. Ignore the fires, the illness, the protests and unrest.
But the truth is, many of us cannot. Escaping our reality is not an option, nor is it a long term or healthy solution.
When we are living in a state of survival, we are not able to connect with our outside world.
Living paycheque to paycheque, moment to moment, wishing, waiting for something to change, and running away when things get hard doesn’t allow us to save for emergencies, dream about the future or make sustainable change.
Having just enough to get by, escaping wherever possible, and continuing to repeat these same patterns just keeps us in survival mode.
Our basic needs must be met in order to create safety. We don’t need a Sun
wing sale on trips to Cuba, what we need is to normalize that life is hard right now, and it is okay to struggle.
This Blue Monday, every day throughout the winter blues season, and moving through 2023 lets focus on recognizing the hard, supporting our people, and normalizing sitting with difficult emotions. Not escaping life.