The most miserable day of the year – does it exist?

 It is winter, it is January. It is freezing cold, it is dark and it is miserable. Spring is miles away. 
Some years ago I read in the newspapers that the third Monday of January was known as  Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. I miscalculated and thought that tomorrow, 23rd January is Blue Monday 2023. 
The story behind Blue Monday is enlightening. In 2005 a travel agency called Sky Travel used the concept of the most depressing day of the year as part of their marketing strategy.
The travel agency claimed that the day was calculated using the formula:  
where W is for weather, D – debts, d – monthly salary, T – time since Christmas, Q – time since failed quit attempt, M – low motivational levels and NA- need to take action.
The media liked the idea and Blue Monday became news and 18 years later it still is. 
This year the story has a different flavour. The journalists questioned whether the formula has a scientific basis. It appears that the travel agency prepared the statement about Blue Monday in 2004 and offered it to a few professional psychologists to approve it for money. Some declined but one of them Cliff Arnall from Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning signed it. It also appeared that the same Cliff Arnall is now campaigning  against the concept of Blue Monday on Twitter.
The answer the journalists received from the professional psychologists when they asked about the calculation was – the formula is  “nonsense”. I am inclined to agree with them and wonder whether the blooming health and wellness industry is there to help us or to make money for some  people. 
However, as I said, my calculation that 23rd January is the most depressing day of 2023 is wrong. 16th January has the honour and I recall what I was doing on that day. Would you believe it – Adrian and I went to a travel agency and booked trip to North America in May. The agency was very busy and the pleasant travel agent explained to us that they are inundated with people phoning to book their holiday.
So Sky Travel and newspapers sensed in 2005 that the idea of Blue Monday reflected something that we all experience at this time of year – we are craving for the sun. 

Moreover, there are 2 million people in the UK that struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  SAD has symptoms similar to depression such as low mood, lethargy, lost interest in hobbies, irritability, sleeping longer and finding it difficult to get up, putting on weight and a decreasing sex drive. 
Even though the formula is speculative and not scientifically proven I think the media do good by broadcasting it every year. It raises awareness of the fact that the reduced exposure to sunlight during the short and dark autumn and winter days affects us. So, we can do something about it? 

1 Comment

  1. Tres Bien Nina! Roll on Feb 14th…for me that’s when we turn the corner x

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *