The third Monday in January, which this year will fall on the 16th January, has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ due to a combination of the weather, the post-Christmas lull, people’s probable level of debt as well as generally lower motivation levels and mood.
Makes sense, right? Or does it. The Blue Monday concept was actually created in 2005 as a PR stunt by Sky Travel. Working with and citing psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, a variety of factors supposedly meant that day was the ‘most depressing day of the year’ – the perfect time to start planning new adventures and embarking on new hobbies.
Since then, debates have been ongoing about not only the validity of the formula, but also the trivialisation of stress and depression and the use of it for consumerism. Dr Dean Burnett, one of Arnall’s university colleagues, commented “There is no such thing as 24-hour depression.”
Despite this, companies didn’t hesitate to hop on the bandwagon of Blue Monday and use it to sell products which will supposedly increase your mood and eliminate the dreaded Blue Monday gloom.
These days it walks a fine line between a social construct designed to get us to spend money (which we supposedly don’t have according to the formula) on things that will apparently make us happier, and an excuse to talk more openly about mental health; although it is worth noting this is more of a happy accident and was not something that was intended when it was created.
In recent years Dr Arnall himself has apologised for his formula and now instead emphasises how essential it is to maintain good mental health throughout the entire year. It appears he has even gone as far to calculate the ‘happiest day of the year’ which is apparently the 23rd July.
So, although the factors used such as gloomy weather and tight pockets might be true, don’t worry about the upcoming Blue Monday and remember that although it has boomed into a concept known and discussed by millions… it was all created to encourage you to buy a holiday.