What Is Blue Monday All About?

Updated: 19/01/2023
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The third Monday of every January is known as Blue Monday, which is meant to be the most depressing day of the year.

The holiday excitement has worn off, the weather is cold, and it's still dark and dull outside. Resolutions are starting to wear off, leaving us feeling disheartened, while overindulging in food and alcohol and skimping on sleep over the winter break makes us feel lethargic and irritable. 

However, mental health experts point out that Blue Monday is just another winter day and it's normal for our moods to be a little lower after so many days with little sunlight. Doing simple things like catching up with friends or treating yourself to a favorite drink or meal are easy ways to boost your mood. Plus, many retailers are either hosting special Blue Monday deals or having season sales, so finding a great deal can also help lift your spirits up. With a forwarding address from forward2me, you can shop great deals from retailers based in the UK, Germany, and Japan and even make further savings by combining multiple packages

When Is Blue Monday? 

Blue Monday is the third Monday of January, rumoured to be the most depressing day of the year. In 2023, Blue Monday is falls on January 16. Blue Monday is essentially when the post-holiday blues and exhaustion from the stress of the holidays begin to catch up with you. This is the week that holiday bills start rolling in and the weather is cold and dark. There is a long stretch until the next holiday to look forward to, and interestingly, this timing coincides with studies that have found that people tend to give up on their new year's resolutions this very same week (the day they give up is also known as "quitters day.")

How Did Blue Monday Begin? 

In 2005, the now-defunct UK TV channel Sky Travel sent journalists an excited promotional announcement that, with the help of a psychologist, it had calculated the most miserable day of the year.

The team had apparently worked it out with a complex formula developed by UK-based psychologist Cliff Arnall. It considered factors such as the weather to devise people’s lowest point.

The formula was meant to analyze when people booked holidays, assuming that people were most likely to buy a ticket to paradise when they were feeling down. Arnall was asked to come up with the best day to book a holiday trip, so he thought of reasons why people might want to take a holiday — and thus, the gloomiest day of the year was born.

Arnall’s formula looks the part: [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA. Upon closer inspection, however, the variables involved are subjective and plainly unscientific. W, for instance, stands for weather. D is debt and d is monthly salary, while T means time since Christmas and Q is the time since you gave up on your New Year’s resolution.

Is Blue MOnday Just a Myth?

Critics of the concept of a “Blue Monday” have held that attributing clinical depression to external causes — such as the idea that the number of days since Christmas may adversely affect people influenced by it — by suggesting their condition could be solved with something as easy as booking a vacation to a sunny beach.

What is real is the winter blues, more clinically known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It’s a form of depression that people experience usually during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight. The most difficult months for people with SAD in the US tend to be January and February, but it improves with the arrival of spring.

Should You Shop Blue Monday Deals?

Although its origin is rooted in marketing, Blue Monday is not a shopping event itself like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Still, considering that on this day people are considered to be booking more vacations, many hotels and traveling agencies are running special Blue Monday offers. And since shopping therapy is a thing, many retailers are also launching campaigns so if you’re looking for a good  deal, here are a few suggestions from UK retailers that can make a gloomy Monday brighter. 

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How to Get Through Blue Monday

So, what can you do when complicated feelings around Blue Monday pop up? Here are some suggestions.

Keep the diary filled

Being social and sticking to plans can keep you distracted from the miserable weather hampering your mood. Even a simple cup of coffee with an old friend can lift your spirits.

Go for a walk

A walkout in nature helps to decrease stress and take your mind off the realities in life - paired with some great music, you can escape to your own inner world.

Buy a UV ‘happy Lamp’

A UV lamp, also known as a ‘happy lamp,’ has great mental health benefits, as the artificial sunlight can fool your body into thinking it’s summer. It’s also recommended as a useful tool to aid symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Start a new hobby

Hobbies are important to follow through as they keep your mind occupied and perfecting a new skill can instantly boost your happiness. Painting, gardening, cooking - the possibilities are endless and can be done on a budget.

Regular exercise

You don’t have to get sweaty and work out every single day, but exercise can help to boost your mood and it's known to aid the symptoms of depression.

Create a new music playlist

Music is praised for its ability to take your mindset out of a negative space and boost your morale. Creating a new playlist can keep you busy and you get the joy of rediscovering some of your favourite tunes. A monthly subscription to streaming services costs less than a tenner, but it works out cheaper than buying tracks individually.

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