Blue Monday: The Saddest Day of the Year?

February 20, 2020
People say that the third Monday of January, known as Blue Monday, is the saddest day of the year. Is it true that everyone feels sadder than usual that day?

“Blue Monday” is the name some people have been calling the third Monday of the year. According to psychologist Cliff Arnall, it’s the saddest day of the year. He attributes this status to the fact that many families haven’t recovered from their Christmas excesses by this time. That includes both the economic and emotional aspects of it.

Also, it seems that, as time goes by, you start to see cracks in your New Year’s resolutions. You start to see that they’re not as realistic, or at least as easy, as you initially thought. By this point, most people start to realize that achieving the goals they’d set for themselves to start the year off is an impossible or distant proposition. That can make you feel disappointed.

Now, that being said, is it true that there’s a “saddest day of the year?”

The origins of Blue Monday

As we mentioned above, psychologist Cliff Arnall coined the term “Blue Monday”. He’s a researcher from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

In 2005, Arnall created a formula to determine what the worst day of the year was. He did this for an advertising campaign for Sky Travel, which was a travel agency.

A woman who looks sad because of Blue Monday.

The formula he proposed was the following:

1/8C+(D-d) 3/8xTI MxNA

  • C stands for the climate.
  • D are the debts you go into during the holidays.
  • d represents your monthly salary for January.
  • T is the time that’s gone by since Christmas.
  • I refers to the time from the last failed attempt at stopping a bad habit. This could be trying to quit smoking or taking on a new challenge.
  • M stands for the remaining motivations.

With all these factors in mind, Cliff Arnall concluded that the saddest day of the year is the third Monday of January.

Is there really such a thing as Blue Monday?

Many people questioned the results that this mathematical formula produced. Even so, Blue Monday has become a fact of life every year.

Social media is full of motivational posts that’ll try to help you to get through this “depressing day”. The media, too, seems to echo this and some advertisers take advantage of this day’s “pull” to offer discounts. They claim their products will be able to lift the spirits of would-be consumers.

Although everyone experiences these feelings, the premise is a bit dubious. It’s hard to believe that everyone can get depressed at the same time every year.

The Blue Monday theory offers a concept of happiness that involves a small number of factors. It also generalizes a lot, assuming that most people are equally impacted by the factors it takes into account.

For example, it’s possible that you could have less money in January and find it difficult to travel. But maybe a little bit of stability is exactly what you want after the Christmas festivities. As a matter of fact, the creator of this equation probably thought about that as well. A short time after the idea, Arnall admitted his formula was just nonsense.

The dangers of believing in this day

Blue Monday has become a very popular concept lately. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to hear about it on that day. At the very least, you’ll hear about it on the news or see a comment about it on social media.

A coffee mug next to a book with the word "Monday" in block letters on it.

You might just be having a normal Monday, like any other Monday with its ups and downs. Yet, constantly hearing that it’s a sad day can condition and predispose you to bleak thinking. You might feel compelled to look at the negative things that happen to you throughout that particular day.

It’s also important that you don’t try to seek happiness all the time. In the last few years, personal coaches, television programs, social media, and others have tried to impose a forced model of happiness on you. However, keep in mind that this is impossible. Aside from that, it can be harmful.

You have to allow yourself to feel sad when you need to. In fact, sometimes, it’s the only way to heal certain wounds.

Due to what we mentioned above, it’s important for you to try to be as positive as possible during that Monday. Look reasonably upon all of the unexpected things that happen that day. Below, we offer you some tips that can help you feel better. They may not only work on Blue Monday but on every day of the year.

  • Sleep schedule. Try to sleep at least eight hours a day. When you get enough rest, you feel more energetic the next day. You’ll find it easier to keep a positive attitude toward all the challenges you have to face.
  • Exercise: Get some exercise at least two times a week. This can help reduce anxiety and increase your self-esteem.
  • Diet. Be careful with what you eat. Keeping a balanced diet directly impacts your well-being. Additionally, huge dinners, alcohol, and caffeine can lead to insomnia.
  • Friendship. Tend to your social circle. Talk to your loved ones often and take good care of them. Be polite to your coworkers, neighbors, and others around you.
  • Assertiveness. This is the capacity to express your wants, opinions, and feelings. Of course, you should always respect others and yourself when you do this. If you’re assertive, you’ll say what you want to do and reject proposals you don’t like. This will help you stay in a good mood.
  • Agreeable activities. These are the foundations of your mood. Researchers have shown that, if you do things you like, your mood will be better by the end of the day. At least this is true in comparison to more routine days. That’s why experts recommend people to set aside some time each day to do things they like. For example, you might listen to music on your way to work. Perhaps you like reading before bed, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of coffee with a friend.