Blue Monday is absolute nonsense, here's why

[Photo: Pexels]
[Photo: Pexels]

Don’t believe the hype; there’s no one specific day in January that’s more ‘depressing’ than others. You can’t just walk in here and tell us to feel rubbish. We already do! Pooped out the arse end of Christmas, wondering lost across life’s burning sands – who am I? What am I doing with my life? Why won’t it stop raining? It ain’t just one measly Monday.

Supposedly the third Monday in January is the “most depressing day of the year”, hence the name ‘Blue Monday’. The notion’s been around since…err…2005 when it was first publicised by now defunct holiday company Sky Travel.

The story goes like this: once upon a time there was a holiday company looking to increase revenue. They hired a PR company who came up with the idea of inventing a ‘formula’ to identify the ‘saddest’ day of the year which they called ‘Blue Monday’. To make their work look credible they offered money to academics in exchange for publishing a substantially pre-written press release under their name. Enter Dr. Cliff Arnall, a former part-time tutor at Cardiff University who as since admitted the whole thing is meaningless. Oh, and he was also commissioned by Wall’s ice cream to carry out a study to calculate the ‘happiest’ day of the year. Make of that what you will.

As if we haven’t been marketed at enough in the lead up to Christmas – Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the big day itself all clawing at our wallets – PR companies are now dictating specific days for us to feel crap on. Not only does Blue Monday kick us when we’re down in the post-Christmas slump, it makes light of mental illness, minimising depression and insinuating it’s something fleeting that can be fixed with a bit of spending.

It’s normal to feel low at this time of year; we don’t need pseudo science to tell us that. In fact, research shows materialistic people tend to be less happy, have lower self-esteem and feelings of depression. So don’t feel pressured to dash out and comfort buy stuff, it only perpetuates the cycle of misery.

If you’re feeling down in January, treat yourself to a meal out, go to the cinema or see a show; studies suggest those who spend their money “wisely” on experiential purchases are likely to increase well-being. And if you’re genuinely feeling depressed speak to a professional, don’t accept cod advice from PR companies. Be well, my pretties.

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