Blue Monday is the name given to a day in January claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first published as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation. Blue Monday is characterised by a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.
Working it out
Apparently, a university professor managed to precisely calculate the most depressing day of the year, using the following formula:
[W + D – d]TQ
Where weather = W, debt = d, time since Christmas = T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions = Q, low motivational levels = M and the feeling of a need to take action = Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units.
The originator of the concept says: “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.”
The idea of a summer holiday is something to cheer you on a day when it never seems to get really light and all you have to look forward is weeks more of lockdown. January can be a bit grim, and the write has a January birthday so knows this is all too true, but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful. The best solution is to take action to protect yourself against things that trigger a low mood, take control and you will feel more motivated and energetic.
It helps to get out into the fresh air every day, even if it’s only for a short time. You’ll see the first green shoots of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are already starting to push their way up from the soil.
Take advantage of the downtime afforded by lockdown to reflect on what you’d like to achieve or change in the year ahead. If there’s something new you want to try, a new hobby, learning a new skill, or more exercise then do it! You can learn almost anything online so check out YouTube and online training courses and start the year with a sense of aspiration and optimism.
Do something, anything
Try a gratitude list – each day, list three things to be thankful for, these can be ordinary things such as exchanging a joke and enjoying good friendships. Do this on a daily basis and you will form the habit of seeing the good in life, even on dark days.
Laughter is the best medicine, many studies back this up, showing it benefits mental health, sleep and quality of life in general, so try swapping soap operas for a Netflix comedy fest.
Cut the clutter – it’s cleansing for the mind and soul. Lifestyle guru Marie Kondo promulgated the mantra: If a possession no longer sparks joy, then bin it. The idea is that if you’re surrounded only by things you love, you’ll be happier and your life will start to change.