Blue Monday – January 18, 2020

Sat Jan 18

Blue Monday rolls around every year on the third Monday in January. The meaning of this day is filled with controversy because it is supposedly the saddest day of the year. Many of us find ourselves in subzero weather this time of year, looking at our post-Christmas credit card bills and realizing we might already be breaking our new year’s resolutions. Are we destined to be blue on this specific Monday? Read on and decide, if so!

History of Blue Monday

The Blue Monday concept surfaced in 2005 during a press release from British travel company, Sky Travel, during a PR stunt. Citing psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, a formula pointing to the third Monday in January described the day as being the gloomiest of the year. Apparently, this equation manages to calculate the most depressing day of the year precisely.

Arnall’s formula considers many factors, including the weather at this time of year, people’s probable level of debt, time after Christmas and new year’s resolutions, generally lower motivation levels and feeling a need to take action.  

Since the release of this concept, debates are on-going. This theory may make sense in opinion, but in reality, some experts consider this pseudoscience. The science behind the formula is frequently questioned and highly scrutinized for possibly trivilializing depression. One of Arnall’s university colleagues, Dr Dean Burnett commented, “There is no such thing as a 24-hour depression”.

 There is a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that may manifest in certain seasons. However, according to Dr Burnett’s point, the condition doesn’t last just one day. Symptoms of SAD can include irritability, persistent low mood and feelings of worthlessness. It may affect up to 3% of people in the US, as many as 10 million Americans.   

Despite the debate, it didn’t take much for companies to embrace the idea of Blue Monday and use it to sell products that can improve a gloomy outlook, eventually perpetuating the use of the term Blue Monday.

 Arnall since apologized for misleading anyone about the third Monday of January and its depressive capacity, renewing a campaign emphasizing the essential message of maintaining good mental health and taking the necessary actions to ensure this.   

Blue Monday timeline

November 28, 2005
Cyber Monday

Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman name the online shopping Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday.

January 24, 2005
Blue Monday

So now we know exactly which day of the year we are, apparently, most depressed.

1986
Manic Monday

The Bangles’ hit song shares everyone’s opinion, “I wish it was Sunday”.

1966
Monday Monday

The Grammy-winning song by the Mamas and the Papas hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

Blue Monday FAQs

Why is it called Blue Monday?

The day was coined as this time of year is considered depressing after overindulging at Christmas time and feeling guilty about not sticking to new year resolutions.

What is the happiest day of the year?

July 14 is considered the happiest day of the year as long, warm days allow people to spend more time with friends and family outdoors, boosting happiness levels.

What is the most depressing color?

Grey is the quintessential sad color, but dark or muted colors such as blue, green or brown can have a similar effect on feelings and emotions.

Ways to Avoid the Monday Blues

  1. Focus on Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Our national holiday to honor Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. also falls on the third Monday of January. The inspirational leader gives us a more positive focus for the day by remembering his famous quotes.

  2. Plan your next vacation

    Studies have shown time and again that having something to look forward to creates a hopeful spirit. Plans for the future can also serve as perfect talking points for enhancing social relationships since as humans, we spend a lot of our mental lives living in the future. The dead of winter seems the perfect time to plan your next vacation, so why not start planning on the third Monday in January?

  3. Turn that frown upside down

    Be intentional about making Blue Monday a fantastic day! Host an “anti-Blue Monday” party for friends and serve a signature blue drink of the night such as Blue Hawaiian, Blue Lagoon or the Blue Monday which is made with 1.5 oz. vodka, ¾ oz. curacao, ½ oz. triple sec, ½ oz. vermouth and 2 dashes of orange bitters!

5 Resolutions To Beat Blue Monday

  1. ​Get healthy

    Happiness and health is frequently anecdotally linked and “laughter is the best medicine” is a cliche for a reason.

  2. Be money-wise

    Money is never far from our thoughts and saving more or spending less of it comes in as the second most common type of resolution.

  3. Learn something new

    ​There’s evidence that fun diversions contribute to good mental health, with studies showing people who engage in hobbies enjoy better moods and less stress.

  4. ​Quit a bad habit

    Since Blue Monday falls just after the new year, there’s no better time to kick a bad habit.

  5. Focus on quality time

    ​Activities such as reading, planning out goals, journaling and spending more time with friends and family often creates a sense of peace and happiness.

Why Blue Monday is Important

  1. Checking in on mental health

    The day is a good reminder to check in on your mental health if experiencing symptoms of depression. Reach out to medical professionals who can assess the situation and find the right treatments. Blue Monday should not play down the seriousness of depression, because 1 in 6 people will experience the condition during their lifetimes.

  2. A reminder to exercise

    We all know exercise improves our mood. Don’t let the winter blues and cold weather prevent an ongoing exercise routine. For many people, sticking to an exercise plan is easier when an encouraging partner is around to boost motivation and commit to staying on track.

  3. Enhancing vitamin D levels

    Vitamin D levels can drastically decline during winter months due to spending less time in the sun, which can seriously affect our moods. Consider getting a medical check-up or blood test. Luckily, vitamin D supplements tend to be as beneficial for us as the sun, as well as nutrient-rich foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish.

Blue Monday dates

YearDateDay
2021January 18Monday
2022January 17Monday
2023January 16Monday
2024January 15Monday
2025January 20Monday

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.

#motivation #psychologist #martin luther