What is Blue Monday and why is it considered the most depressing day of the year?


Blue Monday takes place on the third Monday of January every year. But where did it come from? The idea was first conceived in 2005 by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, as a marketing concept for Sky Travel that has found its way into becoming an annual recurrence. Whilst a formula was used to try and determine what could be perceived as the most depressing day of the year, it has no solid scientific basis.

The formula looked at a combination of weather, sunlight hours and other events such as failed New Year resolutions and post-Christmas over-indulgence.

The Blue Monday concept has since grown exponentially and is often used as a sales tactic by businesses offering change or a lavish experience, maybe a recruitment agency, a gym or, as it was originally intended, a travel agency.

Even Dr Arnall is in two minds over the success of his idea. “I am happy with its impact if it means that people talk about depression and how they feel,” Arnall told the Telegraph in 2010, “but I also encourage people to refute the whole idea of ​​a most depressing day and to use the day as a springboard for the things that really matter in your life.”

Whilst any attention drawn towards a conversation around better mental health is always a step in the right direction, Blue Monday can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the day looms and everybody is expecting it to be the most depressing day of the year, it can very much become that.

With that, why don’t we make Blue Monday a day about reducing the stigma around mental health? Let’s make it a day for announcing new initiatives to support mental wellbeing, all year round, not just for one day and let’s ditch the 10% discounts on holidays, right?