AS the new year begins, the holiday excitement dies down and we return to normality, many experience the winter blues.
However, one particular day in January is dubbed ”the most depressing day of the year” – and here’s why.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is calculated using a series of factors in a formula, although it is not particularly scientific.
The factors used to base the date of Blue Monday include weather conditions and debt level. Other factors include the amount of time since Christmas, and the time it typically takes for people to begin failing their New Year resolutions, and generally lose motivation.
The first date declared was January 24, 2005, after Dr. Cliff Arnall, a tutor at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, was asked to work out the most depressing day of the year.
The concept was then revealed in a press release by a UK travel company, Sky Travel, to be the most depressing day of the year.
Scientists have dismissed the idea as baseless pseudoscience.
When is Blue Monday 2023?
Blue Monday usually falls on the third Monday of January every year. The purported day of gloom this year is Monday, January 16.
This is when, according to the formula, people will be most affected by the bleak winter weather, the post-Christmas comedown, and being filled with guilt over failed New Year’s resolutions and therefore most likely to feel sad or depressed.
However, Blue Monday doesn’t have to be so blue. Suicide prevention charity Samaritans has coined a new term for the day – ‘Brew Monday’.
Instead, Brew Monday is a positive day when people should reach out to friends, family, and colleagues over a cup of tea to make sure they’re feeling alright, and offer support where needed.
Why is Blue Monday the ‘most depressing day’ of the year?
Deciding which day is the “most depressing day” of the year involves various factors including everything from the distance from Christmas to the level of debt.
Others have linked Blue Monday to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a mood disorder or a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.
However, a number of mental health charities, including the Samaritans are derisive of the notion of Blue Monday, claiming the concept has no foundation in scientific research.
A statement on their website says: ” At Samaritans, we know there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ – we all have our good days and our bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar to decide.”
Mental health charity Mind is also derisive of the notion of Blue Monday.
A statement on their website says: “Here at Mind, we think it’s dangerously misleading.
“Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date.”
What can you do about Blue Monday?
There are several ways you can turn Blue Monday into a positive for both your mind and health. Here are just some of the things you can do to beat the blues and have a positive day.
- Remember you are in control – First and foremost, it is important to remember that you are in control.
- Have a cup of positivi-TEA – the Samaritans are encouraging everyone to reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague for a virtual cuppa and a chat.
- Exercise -starting an activity you’ve wanted to do for ages and enjoying time with loved ones all help to banish the winter blues.
- Get some sun -Take advantage of the sunshine, if you can. Go for a walk on your lunch break or try a new outdoor activity to boost your vitamin D levels.
- Read a self-care book – There are a number of books aimed at improving mental health, with tips to help reduce stress and anxiety, and generally feel calmer and happier.
Listen to a podcast – Alternatively, you can pick up your phone, laptop, or tablet and find a self-care podcast.
- Catch up with your loved ones – One of the easiest ways to boost your mood is to catch up with family and friends.
- Watch a fun film – Why not try watching a feel-good film to make you smile. Pick one of your favourites, or a classic you have never seen, and sit back and relax.
- Reach out – Sometimes the January blues go much deeper and you may be suffering in a way that can’t be solved with a simple fix.
If you are struggling with feelings of depression over a long period you should speak to your doctor, or a trusted family member or friend.
Remember, your mental health is as important as your physical health – you will not be wasting anyone’s time.
There are a number of helplines staffed by trained people ready to listen.
They won’t judge you and could help you make sense of what you’re feeling. If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website for more information and available helplines.