The third Monday in January, is said to be the saddest day of the year.  Are you feeling it?

Although Blue Monday started as a PR campaign, it taps into something very real.  In the coldest month of the year, with the rush of holidays behind us and the lure of springtime still months away, we finally have time to look back over the years gone-by and take stock of what happened in our lives.

No matter how great your life is, everyone has times when they wish things had turned out better, or different, or somehow more: times we wish we had been able to do better, or to have worded things differently, or someone to whom we wish we had given more care.

This year, on Blue Monday allow yourself to acknowledge some of the things that you’re feeling and shine a gentle light on your most recent disappointments and losses.   You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, just take a bit of time to honour the private hurts of your own heart.

If you lost someone in 2021 and weren’t able to attend a funeral you may have missed the comfort of gathering together in sorrow.

Or maybe you were locked in with family and had more togetherness than you ever needed.   Maybe you longed for better communication with these people, better boundaries, or maybe just a bit more personal space.

Did you miss your church group or book-club in 2021?   Months away from our social supports can leave us aching for more connectedness in our lives.

Maybe you finally spent time by yourself and found joy in your solitude.   Finding joy this way often means accepting that changes will have to be made and the bittersweet sadness of those changes, can feel heartbreaking.

The disappointments we feel can be big or small.  Maybe you fell in love with making sourdough bread while your spouse fell in love with exercise and swore off carbs.  That’s not life threatening but the disappointment is real.   Each time we acknowledge our feelings it lets us move forward just a little less burdened.

The covid years have been life-changing.  We’ve lost and gained more than we could ever imagine.   As you step into 2022, think about what you would like to bring forward from last year and what you are grateful to leave behind.   Honour what it cost you to get this far and this Blue Monday, pay a gentle homage to your scars.

No matter what your story is, you’ve survived everything life has thrown at you so far and it’s okay, to take a day to feel.

Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.