Happy Stuff!, One Planet Living

Blue Monday and Making Do

Today is Blue Monday. Apparently officially the most depressing day of the year.
I’ve just googled it, and it first became a ‘thing’ in 2005 when someone somewhere did a weird equation, but it’s basically something to do with the time of year, the fact that most of us by now will have given up on our New Year’s Resolutions, the fact that Christmas credit card bills are hitting the doormat, and it still feels like a very looooong time until the end of the month and pay day. Oh, and the weather. Always the weather, at least for us Brits.

I’ve written about it here on the blog before, as part of a campaign by Action for Happiness to ‘Screw Blue Monday’ and came up with 10 ways to make Blue Monday a Happy Monday – you can check it out here if you want some reasons to smile 🙂
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of weeks about this month’s theme of Making Do for One Planet Living. Not just about practical ways to Make Do and to make the best use of the things we already have, but also about how Making Do can help to make us more appreciative of what we do have, more grateful for the abundance that already exists in our lives.
Making Do always sounds like a mildly depressing thing to be doing. It conjures up images of putting up with stuff that is past it’s best, or not quite working how it should. But I don’t think we should see it like that at all. Making Do is about recognising what we already have, learning to really love our stuff, and our lives.

I was pondering writing a post about Making Do and gratitude, and it just seems to fit with the whole Blue Monday thing.
Yes, if we look around, there are lots of reasons to feel a bit blue at this time of year (or indeed at any time of the year). And if the advertisers and the retailers are to be believed, we can buy our way out of that. They want us to think that we can make ourselves happier, better, shinier versions of ourselves with the next, latest, shiniest offering, be that new clothes, new tech, or even just a trashy magazine.
They don’t want us to know that the reality is that the vast majority of us already have all the things we could possibly ever need, or want. And that actually, the happiness, the fulfilment, comes from recognising that, being grateful for the things we have, the people around us, the lives we are already living, without feeling the need to constantly be chasing and acquiring ‘something else’.

It’s been widely reported that happiness levels in the developed world have not risen in line with income. Indeed, once our basic needs are met, more things, more stuff, does not make us happier.
What is proven to make us happier, is practising gratitude. Noticing and being appreciative of what we already have. Making Do.
Recognising that what we have, who we are, is enough.

It is so easy to take for granted the big things, and to spend our time focussed on chasing the little things, the new things, the shiny things. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet, you can read, you most likely have a mobile phone, or a tablet or a computer. You will almost certainly be warm and safe. You will have had enough to eat and drink today, and you have access to a toilet and somewhere to wash your hands.
How lucky are we?
And it’s not just about noticing and being actively thankful for the big things, it’s about noticing the small things too. The smile on the face of a loved one, the look that passed between you and another harassed and tired mother in the playground that made you feel less alone, the joy of sitting and reading a couple of pages of a new book or snuggling up on the sofa after a long day.

So yes, it maybe Blue Monday. There may be a myriad of reasons to be feeling blue (and it’s ok to feel blue) that some boffin somewhere can tap into a computer and tell us that today is the worst day of the year.
But always remember that your worst day, your Blue Monday, is someone else’s very best.
When we choose to notice the abundance, the love, the joy that is all around us, then we are truly Making Do.

We’ve been talking about this in the Facebook community-I posted asking people to share three things that they are grateful for right now, and it’s a thread that is sure to make you smile. Pop over and join in, or share your top 3 in the comments below.
Happy Blue Monday guys 🙂

PS. I’ll be rounding up all the One Planet living stuff in a regular newsletter – sign up here to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

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  • Reply plumesworld January 16, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Whenever I have a cold I always think I never appreciate being able to breathe properly when I can! So the almost everyday for the past couple of weeks when I take a deep breathe I think I’m so thankful I don’t have a cold!

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Amazing what we take for granted so much of the time! Glad to hear you are feeling better 🙂

  • Reply Nicky January 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    The top three things that I am VERY grateful for now and which make me very happy are my family, my family and my family! If maybe I can’t have the same thing three times then second is the thought that tonight I will get into bed with my beloved hot water bottle (and my husband!) and thirdly are the beautiful birds on the feeders outside my kitchen window. How good it is to stop and think about what really makes us happy.

    • Reply Jen January 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      It’s such a powerful thing to do Nicky, isn’t it?

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