Science and Tech


Cheer Up! Experts Say Blue Monday Isn't Really A Thing

According to a formula created by a Welsh psychologist, it's the most depressing day of the year. But experts doubt the theory.
Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 16, 2017

If you thought Mondays couldn't possibly get any worse, allow us to introduce you to Blue Monday.

According to a formula created by Welsh psychologist Cliff Arnall, it's the most depressing day of the year, and it falls on the third Monday in January. 

That's pretty much when all of the Christmas cheer has faded, the holiday bills begin to roll in and the weather is just, well, crummy.

That all sounds pretty bad on its own. But Arnall told reporters in the U.K. that Blue Monday 2017 could be particularly blue, thanks to anxiety over Donald Trump's impending presidency, several tragic celebrity deaths and other not-so-cheery factors.

But before you crawl back under the covers and hide until spring, some experts say Blue Monday is nothing more than a PR stunt.

As the director of development and delivery at London's Mental Health Foundation wrote in a blog post, "'Blue Monday' ... was created in 2005 to sell summer holidays. Since then it has become a yearly PR event and primarily a device to promote and sell things, often tenuously linked, to improving our wellbeing."

Sure enough, a quick scroll through Twitter will show you most of the posts trending under #BlueMonday are ads for sales, giveaways and vacations.

And there isn't any scientific evidence to back up the theory behind the depressing annual holiday.

But while Blue Monday might be fictional, many people do have seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons and typically starts in late fall.