After Blue Monday there’s a whole week of emotions to follow

Eva Wiseman
Photograph: Alamy

Tomorrow is Blue Monday, the first day in the third week of January, and a day believed to be the most depressing of the year. Because it’s cold, and dark, and we are skint after Christmas, and we have failed on our resolutions and we are tired. We are very, very tired, a fatigue that is chained to the bones of us and weighs us down so we walk low to the ground, which is wet. Despite mental health charities sighingly reminding us that depression is not dictated by dates, for me there is something pleasing in the idea that we can quantify bad times. That we can neatly label our feelings. That a universal calendar of emotion can be anticipated, shared, and ticked off for another year. And who doesn’t love a colour chart?

Calamine Pink Tuesday: The second Tuesday after having got away with a minor crime, such as forgetting to pay a bus fare, reusing a stamp, or plonking a broken office chair in a neighbour’s skip at twilight, is defined by unplaceable yet uncomfortable joy. It is a pale and fleshy pink this Tuesday, slightly sticky to the touch, its edges softened by the growing hope that you have won. And not for the last time! No, this is a day that feels like a turning point, where you threaten to pivot from oversensitive petty criminal to big time success story. It is a good day. It is short.

Citronella Wednesday: The Wednesday following a big weekend is a pale and sickly yellow. Today is a day pockmarked by recollections, a head shaken on the hour to rid oneself of memories of Friday night, when you told your colleagues about the fantasy you have about Santa and one particular elf. It was a big weekend. It was a huge weekend. It was a weekend obese with bad decisions, the first being to go for a drink after work despite only having a salad for lunch. Bad decisions multiply in beer like gremlins in water, and the repercussions have impacted you across Monday and Tuesday, dumping you here, on Citronella Wednesday, a bruise on your patience, your confidence and your thigh. You walk gingerly through an open plan office as if wary of landmines, constant déjà vu dashing ahead of you like a cat.

Mahogany Thursday: The Thursday before an election, a sour wind blows in and causes outbreaks of politics. Even among the seemingly vaccinated, those who rely on to keep up with current affairs, even among those who decide who to vote for based on their haircuts, even among the rich. Heavy like a fallen tree and brown like shit, Mahogany Thursday is best dealt with by staying inside and disabling the wifi. Because to engage with the world today is to become infected by opinion, that rash that spreads from the tongue. Surety floods the pubs and coffee shops, stickying feet. It divides and redivides again until what were once communities become single-celled organisms, humming quietly with headphones on. Luckily, a week later, nobody can remember a single politician’s name.

Scarlet Friday: The day following a president’s tweet, sandwiched between a viral meme and video of a fight in a kebab shop, which may or may not have signalled a final world war. Perhaps one might expect to feel empathy towards one’s fellow man, or a rallying feeling, an urge to fight for peace. No. Scarlet Friday brings with it a red and furious dread, annoyingly. A pointed anger at, well, everything. Everything that got us here. At reality TV, at technology, at religion, and money, and all the ignorances and intolerances, including gluten. As the day wears on, the anger transitions to an itching anxiety, which affects all choices negatively – you will choose the wrong sandwich, you will catch the wrong bus, you will put your kid to bed badly, having inadvertently let them know the world might end before they wake. Scarlet Friday – a good day to experiment with a jazzy lip.

Silver Saturday: The day after a scandal breaks featuring a celebrity only those under 23 have heard of. On this day the ever-increasing gap between old and young becomes so evident and so troubling that to enter any conversation is to trip and fall into it, wailing to its muddy depths. Troubling for the young, who have to explain why this YouTube sensation’s comments were offensive to the extreme, also the etymology of the words used, and then, what YouTube is. And troubling for the old, who see death coming in the shadows of selfies, and cynicism, and trying to programme the new TV.

Pistachio Sunday: Three Sundays after a break-up, having screamed your way through a boxset, a new haircut and three hours of unbearable advice from your most married friend, you see your ex outside Costa. They look… good. They are… wearing new trainers. They are… texting. Who are they texting? You sit on a bus stop bench to remember how a body breathes. This is not quite envy, it’s shallower, frayed and old, an envy dipped in tea and left on a radiator. How many more times can you feel this feeling? Surely this will be the last. Surely.

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