We’ve all heard of the “January Blues” – but what about Blue Monday?


“Blue Monday” is the name given to the third Monday in January (this year, it falls on the 17th) and is believed to be the ‘most depressing’ day of the year. With the gloomy weather and Christmas celebrations ending, combined with it being a Monday, it’s not hard to see why. The term came about in 2005, when Sky Travel revealed the date in a press release after appointing a psychologist and mental health expert, Dr Cliff Arnall, to calculate the date through an equation. The formula, which is based on the main factors that are most likely to contribute to low mood, is:


Equation detailing Blue Monday attributes


These are the factors in the equation:

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 a need to take action


Although this equation has been debunked as ‘pseudoscience’, it serves as a reminder that a low mood is not always caused by one thing, but rather a variety of reasons. Dr Arnall has later said that he didn’t actually mean to perpetuate doom and gloom by identifying the date, but instead saw it as “a bid to encourage people, where possible, to take a positive outlook on the time of year as an opportunity for new beginnings and change.”


Neurodiversity refers to the concept that individual differences in brain functioning are as normal as diversity within the human population. This not only encompasses mental health disorders, but also autism, ADHD and learning difficulties. This concept steers our perception away from accepting neurotypical as ‘normal’ and seeing the brain as being as diverse as people. This is one of the reasons why some people might breeze through certain occasions (in this instance Blue Monday) like any other day, and some might find them particularly difficult to get through.


Whilst Instagram can often be guilty of presenting us with an unrealistically perfect picture, social media has become a platform for some really positive conversations around mental health. But it’s important to look past an isolated campaign and use these awareness days as a reminder that, there are moments (not just on Blue Monday) where we may all feel sad, down, lost, struggling and worried about something in our lives. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s important to not suffer in silence. The struggle is definitely real, especially after nearly 2 years of pandemic uncertainty which the original Blue Monday equation did not account for.


We hope that you take Blue Monday as an opportunity to check in on yourself. Remember that, if you need help, there is a wealth of specialist support services out there for you – here are some of our recommendations:


  1. Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
  2. Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/
  3. National Debtline – https://www.nationaldebtline.org/
  4. Beat – beateatingdisorders.org.uk
  5. Refuge – refuge.org.uk
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