For teachers, national awareness days can be pretty useful. Although not teaching full time, I’ve recently discussed National Diabetes Day, National Stress Awareness Day and World Kindness Day. This week was no exception. Monday was not only Martin Luther King Day which I believe we should showcase more in the UK but it was also Blue Monday.
Blue Monday was invented twelve years ago. It always falls on a Monday in the middle of January. It’s the day when we’re supposed to be most depressed, most broke, most suicidal, most likely to have failed in our new year’s resolutions. It’s also the day when we’re supposed to be most likely to splash out on a holiday or something else that will help “cheer us up.” Yes, it’s a marketing gimmick.
Of course, Blue Monday can be a way in to discussing mental health with students. But it can also trivialise mental health issues. Whilst we all feel sad or down from time to time, this is a world away from a serious and ongoing mental health issue.
Click here to find out ways to protect your mental health all year round.
Some people with mental health issues may find the winter months harder but to suggest that a single day or even week can be the source of all our problems, trivialises the significant and severe mental health issues.
My work is concerned with teachers. When colleagues suffer with poor mental health this can be down to the high levels of stress that the profession currently entails, exacerbated by not enough time to exercise or relax and recharge. We need to know how to protect ourselves and support each other. We also need to keep letting the decision makers that what children and teachers are currently going through isn’t acceptable. We need to take care of ourselves every day of the year, not just a cold Monday in January.