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Blue Monday – Depressing Day

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Written By Anđela Rajković

Certified Sleep Consultant

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1 April 2024 5 min read

Did you know that every third Monday in January is the so-called Blue Monday?

Why Blue Monday? And, why the most depressing day of the year? Well, this Monday is considered to be the most depressing day of the year because of many ‘bad' things happening on it. For instance, on this day, we have a mixture of cold and gloomy weather, post-Christmas credit card bills, and the realisation that we are not going to fulfill those New Year's resolutions after all.

On top of all this, we also have to go to work or school. And, we have to go to work or school in our sweatpants because we were stuffing our bodies with too much food over the holidays and can't fit into our ‘normal' clothes.

All these things combined together can really take their toll on our mental health. Sometimes, once this saddest day of the year passes, so do our bad feelings. But, sometimes, this most depressing day triggers additional problems.

But, don't you worry – there are many things you can do to overcome these Monday blues! So, keep reading as we will share a couple of them.

History of Blue Monday

An image of a sad man holding his head.

Before we start talking about all the things you can do on this sad January day, let us first talk about its history.

Namely, it all started with psychologist Cliff Arnall who wrote a press release for the British travel company called Sky Travel. The original press release appeared in 2005, and in it, Cliff Arnal talked about the formula he used to calculate the saddest day of the year. He used all the factors we mentioned in the beginning – cold weather, no more Christmas, no money, New Year's resolution gone wrong, etc. He combined these with the general feeling we have on Monday and the lack of motivation we have on gloomy days and came up with Blue Monday.

Ever since Sky Travel's press release, this formula has had its ups and downs. Some scientists and doctors supported it. And, others, Dr. Dean Burnett for example, opposed it and claimed that ‘There is no such thing as a 24-hour depression‘. He continued to talk about seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that is triggered by the change of seasons which resembled Blue Monday. But, according to Dr. Dean Burnett, this disorder lasts a lot longer than just a day.

In the end, Cliff Arnal apologised for his Blue Monday and its depressive capacity. But, nevertheless, the idea was rooted. Now, we use every third Monday of the year to remind ourselves and the people around us that mental health issues are real and that we need to take care of them.

How to spend the third Monday of the year

If you are hit with Monday blues, all you have to do is cheer yourself up. Luckily, doing that is easy. You just have to do something for yourself. But, if you have no clue what to do, don't worry, we got ya! So, here are some things to do on this Blue Monday.

Dress up for work or school

If you are going to work or school today, dress up. Pick your nicest clothes, paint them with your most expensive shoes (yes, wear those special occasion shoes), do your hair, do your makeup, etc. Turn Blue Monday into a good-looking Monday. When we look good, we also feel good, so don't be lazy.

Go for a drink in the evening

Some mental health issues arise from being and feeling lonely. The easiest way to fix that is to simply socialise. If you don't feel like it right now, go out tonight. Call your best friends or your favorite family members, call your classmates or your colleagues or even call that neighbor you always see on the street. Ask them to go for a cup of coffee and a chat. Trust us, you will feel much better afterward.

Treat yourself

To save yourself from the third January blues, you can also treat yourself to something you always wanted. That can be something big like a new phone or something small like that Starbucks cup of coffee. Or, it can be something that can come in handy during this most depressing day, something like a weighted blanket or a SAD lampThese two proved to be very helpful to people who suffer from constant stress, anxiety, fears, and even depression.

Plan a vacation

Okay, what is one thing that will put a smile on your face on this day? Planning a holiday of course! You can plan a trip during this holiday season (while it still lasts), or you can plan a trip for the spring or summer. Or, do it for the upcoming bank holiday. And, don't wait for payday to do this – do it today. Make those reservations as we speak.

Focus on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We linked Blue Monday to depression. So, we use the third Monday, or even the second or fourth Monday to remind ourselves about mental health issues that can be triggered by depression (either the 24-hour one or the long-term one). But, if thinking about depression makes you anxious, just don't do it. Focus on something else on this day. For instance, focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This inspirational leader's day also falls on the third Monday of January. So, read or listen to some of his speeches – they really can do wonders when it comes to motivation.

Make new New Year's resolutions

An image of a cup of tea and a doughnut next to it

Some people feel bad this time of the year because of their failed New Year's resolutions. So what if they failed? Pick up the pieces and continue.

Or make new ones.

Who says that resolutions should be made for New Year's only? Make one today. That will make you feel hopeful and motivated, and of course, it will make you forget that today's Blue Monday.

Why Blue Monday is important

Dr. Cliff Arnal's press release claimed Blue Monday to be the most depressing day of the year for a reason. So, don't discharge his formula just because he had to apologise for it. Instead, use it as a reminder to check up on your mental health and on the mental health of the people around you so that we can all survive the January depression.

Checking in on our mental health

If you have been struggling with fears, anxiety, depression, etc., check up on yourself. Go and see a therapist, do something that will help you ease your symptoms, and talk to people about it. Do it to make yourself feel better and also to raise awareness.

Moreover, even if you didn't notice any problems, use this day to dig a bit deeper. Sit down and think about the things you have been struggling with lately – you never know what is hiding under all those layers of your psyche.

Checking in on the health of the people around us

Don't forget to check up on the people around you. It doesn't matter whether they are struggling with something or not, talk about anxiety and depression. Be open. We all need to be more open about this. Mental health problems are not something we should be ashamed of. The more we talk about them, the more lives we will save!

Conclusion

And that's all you need to know about Blue Monday! So, what are you going to do to prepare for this statistically sad day? Let us know in the comments!

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About the author

Anđela Rajković
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant and well-practiced sleep enthusiast, I find a lot of joy in bringing my expertise to our readers – preferably those who love to sleep. With a background in the English language and literature and a love of research, I'm always seeking new ways to share the latest sleep science and bed-related findings. And, when I'm not connecting with my readers, you can find me exploring the great outdoors, or, well, curling up in bed.
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