Blue Monday: The Saddest Day of the Year?

blue monday

Is it possible to deem one day of the year as the saddest day?  Apparently, according to a man named Dr. Cliff Arnall, it is. Blue Monday, or the third Monday in January, has been called the saddest day of the year. January is the month when life after the holiday resumes, schools reopen, people go back to work, and the holiday decorations are stored away. But, is this enough to label one day in January as being “sadder” than others?

Dr. Cliff Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, “created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples’ lowest point,” according to NBC News. Taking into variables such as weather, debt, monthly salary, and time since Christmas, Arnall determined that the third Monday in January is indeed the saddest day of the year. Arnall states on NBC News:

“‘Following the initial thrill of New Year’s celebrations and changing over a new leaf, reality starts to sink in,’ meaning by the end of January, many people already broke their New Year’s resolutions and are starting to feel the wrath of Seasonal Depression Disorder (SAD).”

Arnall also explains that this is the time when “the realization coincides with the dark clouds rolling in and the obligation to pay off Christmas credit card bills.” That being said, Arnall’s formula is criticized as being unreasonable, and it was originally developed for a travel company in order to find a trend as to when people book to most vacations. Booking a vacation was found more likely to happen in January due to the depressing realities people seem to face during this time. NBC News accurately concludes that “people are most likely to buy a ticket to paradise when they feel like hell.” Did we really need a scientific formula to tell us that one?

On another note, Huffington Post, a news website, explains how a protein drink company, Upbeat, found that the first Monday of January is actually the saddest. Upbeat “developed something called the ‘Upbeat Barometer,’ which analyzes tweets daily for negative words and phrases to give an idea of happiness levels in Britain,” Huffington Post explains. Apparently, Twitter users over the last three years were more likely to post grouchy comments on this date than on any other day of the year. “The analysis found that guilt-related tweets are typically five times higher and weather complaints are six times higher than normal on the first Monday of January,” Huffington Post explains. It seems, no matter if it’s the first or the third Monday in January, the month as a whole is a little dreary.

While SAD and depression are serious disorders and often require the help of doctors, there are ways to help beat the January slump on your own. Booking a trip to paradise sounds like the perfect plan, but for those of us who can’t afford it, exercising regularly, making realistic goal lists, and seeing friends and family are all ways to help avoid SAD. Try to plan to plan small things to look forward to; that way, you can keep your spirits high during the winter.


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