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Blue Monday: Why Is This the 'Most Depressing' Day of the Year?

Reviewed by
Date published
18/01/2021
Date last updated
18/12/2020
Length of read
3 Minutes

The idea of Blue Monday first began in 2005 by Dr Cliff Arnall, before later being published by Sky Travel as part of a press release. Since then, Blue Monday has been celebrated (or mourned) every third Monday of January. But, why is Blue Monday considered to be the most depressing day of the year? Read on to find out.

When is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday is held every third Monday of January.

Why is Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year?

According to the life coach and psychologist who first coined the term, Blue Monday is the saddest day of the year because of:

  • Bad weather
  • Dark nights
  • Failed New Year's resolutions
  • Spending too much during Christmas and New Year
  • Post-Christmas debt

Is Blue Monday real?

Truth be told, no. Even Dr Arnall admitted that his Blue Monday formula is just pseudoscience and the Blue Monday concept he invented is just part of a marketing campaign to hook people into booking holidays. After all, the firm who asked him to come up with the formula was a travel agency who wanted to promote their winter deals!

"I was originally asked to come up with what I thought was the best day to book a summer holiday but when I started thinking about the motives for booking a holiday, reflecting on what thousands had told me during stress management or happiness workshops, there were these factors that pointed to the third Monday in January as being particularly depressing." – Dr Cliff Arnall, quoted from Independent.

Despite Dr Arnall's admission that Blue Monday is just a marketing stunt, marketing firms around the country joined the bandwagon and manipulated the concept to create a gold mine of sales opportunities.

It's all about your mental health

If there's a silver lining in this PR stunt, it's this: Blue Monday raises awareness on why we should take care of our mental health --- not just every third Monday of January but every day of the year.

Below are some truths about mental health:

1. You can't generalise good and bad days

One person's most depressing day of the year could be another person's best day in life. So, it's pointless to generalise good and bad days on a particular date. We’re all unique and live very different lives.

2. Just a bad day? Or is it depression?

It’s normal to feel down every now and then. However, if you feel down for weeks on end, to the point where it affects your daily life, you might be experiencing depression or another mental health issue which needs professional help.

3. Some people do experience seasonal variations in their mental health

If you are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder, you’ll know that some people do experience a seasonal pattern in their mental health. This is usually more intense and prominent in low light months.

Take care of your mental health every day of the year

Every year, thousands of people die from suicide and other mental health-related problems. What makes it worse is that some companies are trying to "commercialise" mental health issues for their gains --- trivialising symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

There are several things you can do to take care of your mental health. Here are some of them:

  • Talk about your feelings – if you feel troubled, connect with a trusted friend or family member and don't hesitate to talk about your feelings. Sometimes, all you need to boost up your mood is someone willing to listen.
  • Stay active – boost your self-esteem by exercising regularly. Aside from helping you feel better about yourself; exercise also helps you stay physically healthy. You don't need to hit the gym. Sometimes, all you need is a relaxing walk to commune with nature.
  • Eat healthily – you are what you eat. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is not just good for your body. It's good for your mental health, too.
  • Take a break – know that whatever you are doing, you can always take a break. This can be as little as a 5-minute stand-up break or an entire weekend off to explore new places.
  • Get support – you are not alone. If you feel your burden is too heavy to bear, get some support. You always have your family and friends to back you up. There are also local services around you that are willing to lend a helping hand.
  • Learn to accept who you are – you are unique. One of the ways to take care of your mental health is to accept that you are different. That you don't have to compare yourself to others. Boost your confidence by exploring new places, making new friends, doing something you are good at, or learning a new skill.