It’s believed to be the most depressing day of the year.
Or at least according to psychologist, Cliff Arnall, who came up with the concept in 2004 when he created the formula for the January blues for travel company, Sky Travel, who then went on to use the concept as a PR stunt to promote their winter deals.¹
The formula, based on the main factors that are most likely to contribute to low mood is:
These are the factors in the calculation:
W = Weather
D = Debt
d = Monthly salary
T = Time since Christmas
Q = Time since failing our New Year's resolutions
M = Low motivational levels
Na = The feeling of needing to take action
While Blue Monday hasn’t been scientifically proven, it can be difficult not to feel anything but blue on this day due to the widespread association with it.
Plus, the factors that have been used in Cliff’s Blue Monday calculation are real-life factors – the weather is typically gloomy in January, people do break their New Year’s Resolutions early on, motivation levels can be low, and there can be some Christmas debt to have to pay back, too.
But you shouldn’t have to feel blue, not if you remember:
Doing these things will also help you beat those blues:
At the end of the day, Blue Monday is a PR stunt based on generalisations.
But the “blue” factors in our lives are still real at this time.
If you’re struggling to cope, speak to your GP. The services below are also free and available 24/7 in the UK:
We've partnered with JAAQ, an innovative and interactive mental health platform where you can hear from over 60 world leading experts and people with lived experience on topics such as burnout, depression and anxiety in a way that has never been done before.
Last updated: 12 January 2023