Blue Monday: It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

So here we are – the legendary, cursed Blue Monday. Supposedly, today (the third Monday of January every year) is the most depressing day of the year. The day was coined as being the day that is clouded by our debt from Christmas, lack of money due to extended post-Christmas pay period, vitamin d deficiency from the bad weather, and the shame from failing our new year’s resolution or the struggle of maintaining it. (It’s okay, resolutions are hard.)

But really? The truth is, Blue Monday is totally fabricated. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, Blue Monday is a relatively new ‘phenomenon’ – being created in January 2005. For comparison’s sake, that means:

YouTube is the same age as Blue Monday, and Wikipedia is 4 years older (coincidentally, Wikipedia turns 17 years old today!)

The song “Blue Monday” by New Order is 25 years older than Blue Monday! (who’d have thought?)

So, what are the facts about Blue Monday?

Well… there aren’t any, really.

Despite what might be drilled into everyone’s head about Blue Monday, there’s not a huge amount of science that goes into what designates each Monday as the ‘unhappiest’. Because of this, many scientists have discredited the theory and equation behind it. The equation used makes little sense and is too variable from person to person:

The somewhat questionable formula for Blue Monday

As clever as this all looks (or as clever as it tries to look), it’s pseudoscience: none of these things necessarily have any bearing on how someone is feeling, and in fact could have a reverse effect, for example, if someone prefers winter weather to summer days. Some people are more concerned about debt, and others not so much. Everything is variable.

Also, a lot of these factors are not about the day, but about individual aspects: a lot of things such as debt and motivation levels have little to do with the date on the calendar. How can someone measure pure ‘motivation levels’ as a number anyway?

Still Feel Down?

Of course, it doesn’t matter if there’s hard evidence for sadness or not: if you feel low, that isn’t what you want. If you’re feeling Blue Monday, consider some of these options to help get out of that hole:

Feeling low comes to everyone now and then, and often goes in time. But sometimes there’s a constant, lingering feeling that can’t be shaken. If it’s left to fester, depression can creep in and do damage to your self-esteem, livelihood and put a cloud over your life. Don’t let it take over things: if you’re having a serious battle just to feel okay, reach out. There are ways to start fixing things. You could reach out to friends, family or workmates.

Feel like maybe that’s too uncomfortable, or you have no one to turn to? 7Cups and Samaritans both provide an ear for you to speak to, anonymously. They can help give guidance, or just listen to what you need to say. Make no mistake at all, there is absolutely no shame in using either of these.

Stop and have a cuppa with someone this Blue Monday: you might end up feeling better for it.

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