Blue Monday: Is January 18, 2021, the most depressing day of the year?

Have you ever heard of Blue Monday? Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, refers to the most depressing day of the year. On this day, people tend to appear the lowest in the mood. This year is Blue Monday happening on January 18. What makes the day so uniquely gloomy?

Is the phenomenon Blue Monday real?

Some people might be a bit pessimistic during Blue Monday. Where does this gloomy feeling come from? Someone might feel a bit down due to the end of all the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. During Christmas, people usually spend a lot of money, so for some of them, January might seem a bit slower as waiting for the next paycheck finally to come. The contrast between the recent holidays and the return to work reality is also not helpful. Or maybe it’s just the cold days and nights that make your life a bit blue? Or is it the case you set up some unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that you are now failing to put into action? 


While these variables may seem like valid factors when it comes to calculating the worst day of the year, any research hasn’t proved there is any day more depressing than the others. Blue Monday works on an idea of an equation that takes into account variables negatively influencing people's mood.

Origins of Blue Monday

The concept of Blue Monday began with a press release in 2005. It was part of the marketing campaign for the UK TV channel Sky Travel. They claimed to have calculated the most miserable date. Together with the psychologists, they completed a formula considering multiple variables affecting people’s behavior: [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA




W = weather

D = debt

d = monthly salary

T = time since Christmas

Q = time since failing New Year’s resolutions

M = low motivational levels

Na = the feeling of a need to take action


However, this formula couldn’t be adequately verified. Upon closer inspection, the variables are subjective and unscientific. Like, how do you measure the Q variable? We already know that fulfilling New Year’s resolutions and plans or developing a good habit is a long process.


However, Blue Monday could also refer to the Monday suicide ratio for Japanese men of productive age category. In the research in 2009, it was significantly higher than on other days of the week.

If not Blue Monday, winter blues are real

The more interesting question would be: What is it about the winter that affects people’s mood? Winter blues, clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a real deal. It’s a form of depression people experience during the darker fall and winter months due to biochemical imbalance in the brain caused by less sunlight. Common symptoms of SAD are tiredness regardless the amount of sleep, sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, a lack of concentration, losing motivation at work, weight gain due to carbohydrate cravings, and dark thoughts.


Blue Monday might be a problem for individuals facing depression or anxiety. They might feel stressed about constantly hearing warnings about this date as an „especially depressive day“. The pressure adds a lot of anxiety to the day, and people are worried about the buildup to it. A good thing about Blue Monday is that it provides an „excuse“ to talk more openly about mental health.

How to beat the blues

What helps is the increased exposure to sunlight or vitamin D, which can be a good supplement to it. Spend more time outside in nature, arrange your working-from-home office area next to the window. Take care of your health: eat well, exercise regularly, sleep enough, stay connected with your loved ones, and go to therapy if you feel like it.


On this day, you can walk the extra mile on your path of thriving in 2021. Start something you always wanted, and be the sunlight for other people when they need you the most.


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