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Blue Monday @ DGS

Posted on: 31/01/2020

The third Monday of January is statistically the worst day of the year when it comes to people’s mood and feelings of positivity. However, you’d never have known this from walking around the DGS campus last week!

In truth, such is the energetic, friendly and engaged nature of our student body that I’d almost completely forgotten that ‘Blue Monday’ was approaching. This depressingly named day has come to symbolise all that is dark and dreary about this time of year; the joy and excitement of Christmas are long gone but the days are still cold and dark. Many optimistic New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside and the warm days of spring are just that bit too far away to get excited about. Sounds pretty dreadful, doesn’t it?

Funnily enough, however, for a day with such negative connotations, Blue Monday was “never meant to sound negative” according to the man who coined the term. Dr Cliff Arnall, who first used the term in 2005, later said that rather than encouraging a sense of misery on cold and wet mornings, he actually wanted people to use the day as a chance to reflect on how we can still find positivity and embrace the new year as a time for change - even when it’s a bit miserable outside.

He’s not alone in trying to focus on the positives and lift spirits when the lingering winter makes everything feel more difficult than it should. At DGS, we were especially inspired by motivational speaker Gavin Oattes, who took to the freezing streets of Edinburgh in the early morning of Blue Monday to hand out balloons to sleepy commuters. It might seem like a small thing to do but the expressions on people’s faces – surprise, confusion, but most importantly joy - as they received this slightly silly token from a complete stranger said everything about the incredible power of tiny acts to brighten the days of others.

So, on Blue Monday this year, the School Council set out to similarly inspire playfulness, kindness and thoughtfulness at DGS. They spent every free moment they had secretly blowing up around 300 balloons which were then randomly handed out to staff and students at lunchtime. What followed was an absolute delight to behold, as students passed on their balloons to others when they saw them, carried them around into lessons, and laughed and smiled about them. I even saw a few balloons make their way back into school the following day, tied onto the bags of students who had chosen to keep these tokens! The sight of brightly coloured balloons bobbing around school at the start of the week was a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to wait until Friday or the weekend to inject some fun into our days, but also – especially as it began to rain later on - that even the toughest of days can be made that bit better by people choosing to do nice things for each other.

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