Blue Monday: Does today really bring the biggest of all Monday blues?

Blue Monday: Does today really bring the biggest of all Monday blues?

If we said that January was definitely the worst month of the year, you probably wouldn't quibble with us. The weather is bad, the holidays are over, we're back to work, and the summer is a long, long way away. In short: there's little to look forward to. 

But specifically, it has been calculated that one day in particular brings the biggest of all Monday blues, and that day has rather aptly been dubbed Blue Monday. But what and when is Blue Monday, and what are some of the things you can do to help get yourself through the dark and dreary days of January? Read on to find out!

Blue Monday meaning: What is Blue Monday? 

Blue Monday is generally agreed to be the most depressing day of the year - in a nutshell. 

The mother of all Monday blues

The concept is the brainchild of Cliff Arnall, a British psychologist. Back in 2004, Arnall created a mathematical formula for the January blues - a term used to describe the general feeling of bleakness that many people experience at the start of the new year.

Arnall’s formula takes a number of factors into account, including weather, salaries, debts and the amount of time that has passed since Christmas in order to precisely determine which day is the bluest day in January:

In this formula, “W” stands for weather, “D” for debt and “d” for monthly salary, while “T” means the time since Christmas, and “Q” means the time since failing in a new year’s resolution. Finally, the “M” is low motivation, and "Na" is the feeling of a need to take action.

Arnall used the formula on behalf of the travel company Sky Travel in a promotional campaign which encouraged members of the public to book a holiday in the sun in order to escape the dreary winter at home.

Blue Monday 2024

The third Monday of each January is dubbed Blue Monday. In 2024, Blue Monday falls on January 15, 2024. 

Why this date?

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2013, Arnall said he chose this date because several "particularly depressing" factors appeared to collide around this time of year. He then tried to back this up with his formula. However, Arnall has publicly said that the formula he used is essentially pseudoscience, adding that by labelling a specific day as Blue Monday, it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Indeed, social media analysis by drink company Upbeat previously found that people are more likely to express negative opinions and feelings of guilt on Blue Monday, while lawyers and legal experts have dubbed the day Divorce Monday on the basis that it is the most popular day of the year to start divorce proceedings

How to get the better of your seasonal blues

Whether or not you're feeling low, it's a good idea at this time of year to put some positive plans into action to help you get through the next few weeks. Here are some tips. 

1. Spend time with loved ones 

This is the simplest fix: put your phone and laptop away and make a plan to do something with friends or family. Maybe go out for a walk, play some board games, or cook a meal together.

2. Practice some positivity

We know: easier said than done. But it's still a good idea to actively work against the feelings of melancholy you’re "supposed" to be feeling. Get those endorphins pumping and do some exercise, or take some time out of your day to think about the things that you’re grateful for or things that you want to achieve in the future. 

3. Book a holiday

If you've got the money for it, why not hark back to Blue Monday's roots as a travel advertisement and book a trip abroad? That way, you have something to look forward to in the not-too-distant future. Alternatively, if you don’t have a big enough budget for a holiday, consider planning a weekend away, or even just a fun day out exploring a Swiss city or town you’ve never been to.

4. Talk to someone

If you're struggling with your mental health or low mood, it's important to know when to reach out to a professional for help. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all, and no one should suffer in silence. 

Some quotes for some Blue Monday humour

In need of a bit of Blue Monday humour? We've put together some fun, inspirational and relatable Blue Monday quotes that will hopefully put a smile on your face: 

  • “Hey, I know it’s Monday. But it’s also a new day and a new week. And in that lies a new opportunity for something special to happen.” - Michael Ely
  • “Mondays are the start of the workweek which offers new beginnings 52 times a year!” - David Dweck
  • “When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” - Ella Woodward
  • “The only good Monday is a Monday in bed.” - Lee Horton
  • “Monday is an awful way to spend 1 / 7 of your life.” - Steven Wright
  • “If each day is a gift, I’d like to know where to return Mondays!” - John Wagner

Enjoy your Blue Monday

Whether you're going to pass Blue Monday away by taking to your bed or confront the most depressing day of the year head one, we wish you the best of luck! Here's hoping your third Monday in January passes quickly. 

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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