What is Blue Monday and the truth behind the 'most depressing' day of the year

by 24britishtvJan. 16, 2023, 10:40 p.m. 14
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Monday, January 16 marks this year's Blue Monday - the day when we're supposedly feeling the lowest we'll feel all year.

In a way, it's understandable - the weather is cold and grim, payday seems like forever ago and the excitement of Christmas and New Year has long since worn off.

Not to mention being back at work and the added pressure of our New Year's resolutions that we may be feeling guilty about breaking already. But is there genuinely a reason why the third Monday in January is more 'depressing' than the rest?

The concept of Blue Monday is actually based on a formula created by psychologist Cliff Arnall.

Back in 2004, he identified the main factors that are likely to cause sadness - weather, debt, monthly salary, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year's resolutions, low motivational levels, and the feeling of needing to take action.

Putting all of these concepts together, the ultimate sadness formula was created, identifying the most depressing day of the year to be the third Monday in January.

But it may not actually be as depressing as it seems, as Cliff was allegedly instructed to make up this formula whilst he was working at the now-bust travel firm Sky Travel.

The so-called Blue Monday then became the centre of a marketing campaign for the company, designed to try and make people book holidays to beat the blues.

Since it was created, Cliff's formula has been described as 'pseudoscientific' - meaning there is very little actual proof that it's real and proven.

Mental health charities have warned of the dangers that the Blue Monday label can mean for those already suffering with low mood all year round.

Previously speaking of the risks, head of information at Mind Stephen Buckley said: "Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening. 1 in 6 people will experience depression during their life.

"It can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts."

Of course, there are many things that can really get people down at this time of year compared to the summer months - weather and daylight hours, to name a few.

But it's important to remember that just because it's Blue Monday, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should feel down. It's also a good opportunity to check in on your mental health and try to do this year-round, rather than assuming you'll feel glum when the dreaded day hits.

If you're really struggling, you should speak to your GP or use the following services which are available 24/7:
• For urgent medical advice, call the NHS on 111
• In an emergency, or if you or someone else is in danger, call 999

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