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Blue Monday - Woman in blue jumper drinking coffee

Blue Monday: What’s it all about?

22 Dec 2022 • 2 min read


You’ve heard of the Sunday blues, but what about Blue Monday? 

What is it? When is it? And what’s the purpose of it? 

You can stop wondering…because we’ve gathered all the facts about Blue Monday, and listed them all right here.

Skip to: 

What is Blue Monday? 

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 

Blue Monday FAQs

When is Blue Monday?


Why is it called Blue Monday?


Is it really blue?


Ways to feel more positive 

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: 

  • It’s a myth – there are no scientific studies to say that Blue Monday is actually Blue Monday.³,⁴
  • We all have good and bad days – everybody’s situations are different, and it’s therefore impossible for all of us to feel exactly the same way on one particular day.³
  • It’s actually a good opportunity to check in on our mental health... – rather than automatically thinking you feel blue on Blue Monday, reflect on your mental wellbeing and continue to do it all -year round.³
  • ...and to talk things through with other people – this is really useful for protecting our mental health; sometimes, a problem shared can be a problem halved.⁴

Doing these things will also help you beat those blues:

  • Focus on the good things – that are happening in your life and try not to be dominated by things that may have gone wrong or aren’t going your way. 
  • Be grateful for what has happened – this will help you focus on the positive things taking place all around you – no matter how small. For example, you can be grateful for having a good night’s sleep, completing your work on time, your colleague helping you out, or your partner doing the shopping for you. 
  • Try to smile and laugh more – there’s no use forcing it - but studies have found that laughter can help relieve depression, stress, and anxiety.⁴ A simple laugh or smile, at ourselves or other people, can instantly lift our spirits. 
  • Use positive affirmations – try to start every day with a positive thought, saying, memory, or quote that sets you up for the best possible start. Don’t forget to keep reminding yourself of it throughout the day, too. 

The final say 

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: 

  • Call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123 
  • Text SHOUT to 85258 
  • For urgent medical advice, call the NHS on 111
  • In an emergency, or if you or someone else is in danger, call 999 

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.

How to help yourself feel better on Blue MondayHow to help yourself feel better on Blue Monday

Last updated: 12 January 2023


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