Blue Monday: It is stated that the third Monday of January, which comes on January 16 this year, is the saddest day of the year, as people struggle with holiday debt, failed New Year’s resolutions, and gloomy weather.
The term “Blue Monday” was coined by the now-defunct British travel agency Sky Travel and the Welsh psychologist Cliff Arnall.
To select the “saddest day of the year,” the company reportedly employed a formula that evaluated seven factors: time since Christmas, a monthly wage, weather, debt, time since failed New Year’s resolution attempt, low levels of motivation, and the urge to take action.
Even though the formula sounds sensible and January is certainly a miserable month, experts are skeptical about the veracity of Blue Monday because no data supports this claim. Furthermore, it may be unhealthy to associate your bad emotions with a certain day.
Here’s everything you need to know about the phenomena and what to do if you’re feeling low over the holiday season:
Blue Monday is not an actual day
Blue Monday is “not a common concept in the mental health field,” said Belle Liang, professor of counseling psychology at Boston College and co-author of the best-selling book ‘How to Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond.’ One of the reasons for this is the lack of empirical-based research on the topic.
According to Tyler Keith, a licensed clinical social worker and telehealth therapist at Thrive works in North Carolina, US, mental health may be Googled more in January, but there is no evidence that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year.
Blue Monday has nothing to do with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), even though millions of people experience symptoms of SAD each winter., Liang added that “Our field as a whole agrees that the prevalence and severity of mental health issues are both stable and increasing.”
In other words, as we wade through the Covid pandemic, rising inflation, and the winter season, more people are struggling with mental health issues. However, these problems will not reach their climax on January 16, nor will they disappear after that day.
He said that therapists typically prepare for a rise in referrals after the holidays when more individuals seek treatment owing to post-holiday stress and winter’s generally depressing influence on mood. However, people do not necessarily feel the most miserable on Blue Monday.
Blue Monday may be somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy
Laing remarked that Blue Monday could be a self-fulfilling prophecy for some individuals.
Lang stated that they may be aware of Blue Monday and believe it signifies a time to assess if goals have been accomplished, resolutions have been kept, and post-holiday spirits are in check. She emphasized that when you conduct a thorough examination, the answer will likely be negative, which will make you feel awful and may lead you to believe you’re dealing with a Blue Monday issue.
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Alternatively, it could be a marketing technique
Although this concept is related to the winter blues that many people experience, according to Keith, it is also boosted by marketing organizations who capitalize on the heightened interest in change (such as new gym routines or diet programs) during the winter months.
Laing remarked that people want to feel better at this time of year, which is why they make New Year’s resolutions or quickly arrange a relaxing vacation, but that does not address the basis of the issue. “People are trying to find purpose and significance in their lives, and they attempt to do it through materialism,” she added, citing the holiday buying frenzy as evidence.
Marketing firms and social media corporations are cognizant of this urge to discover meaning through consumerism and goal-setting. “Blue Monday is merely another example of how our psyches are influenced by others,” remarked Laing.
This concept resonates because many people are currently struggling
Keith thinks that the concept of Blue Monday resonates with individuals because it is affirming. It validates our feelings and tells us that we are not the only ones experiencing them. Moreover, according to Laing, attaching our feelings to a specific day relieves some burden from our mental health, although this is not desirable.
“We want to explain it away — we want it to be related to a period in time that will pass,” she said, adding that the underlying causes of mental health issues are more difficult to accept than a single unhappy day. A profound sensation of lostness, meaninglessness, and purposelessness is more terrifying, according to Laing.
Both experts emphasized that experiencing ups and downs is a part of life. It’s normal to experience sadness on occasion; it’s a natural aspect of life. Laing advised you to “take deeper work to connect with what is of value and what is purposeful in life – we don’t need to be looking to our social media feeds for our sense of worth” However, understand that seasonal sadness is real and that there are strategies to deal with it if you’re feeling depressed.
The NHS lists symptoms of seasonal affective disorder as being less active than usual, feeling weary and sleeping more than usual, feeling lethargic, and having difficulty concentrating. These symptoms are in addition to the normal signs of depression, which include feeling stressed or apprehensive, having poor self-esteem, and being unable to make decisions.
There are options available if you believe you’re experiencing this
Talking to a therapist is an effective strategy to deal with winter sadness or any other type of unhappiness. Here are some NHS-recommended treatments for SAD.
Although Blue Monday does not exist, mental health issues, especially during the cold and dark months, do. If you require help, don’t be shy about asking for it.
What is Blue Monday? Most Depressing Day of the Year? (Video) Watch Now
What does it mean to have a blue Monday?
A Monday that is particularly sad or unpleasant due to the return to work and routine following the weekend.