Blue Monday: What is it and where did it come from?

#BlueMonday is currently trending at #1 on Twitter. But what is Blue Monday? Where did it come from and what does it mean? 

“Blue Monday” is a day which generally falls on the third Monday, or the second or fourth of the month, in January. The term was coined by psychologist, Cliff Arnall, back in 2004, when a travel company, Sky Travel, asked him for a “scientific formula” for the January blues. 

The “formula”, which has been disputed over the years, takes into account many factors, including post-holiday blues, bad weather, debt level, low motivation levels, and so on. All of these factors have resulted in the day being known as the most depressing day of the year. 

Despite originally being coined for marketing purposes, in order to encourage people to book holidays, the term has moved into everyday vocabulary, with the term being widely used across the Northern Hemisphere. (Due to the weather conditions, Blue Monday doesn’t apply to the Southern Hemisphere).

The term has been subject to amounting criticism over the years, with many saying the term adds anxiety and pressure to an ordinary day. 

Taking the day back

The Samaritans are taking a different approach, challenging the meaning behind the day by dubbing the day #BrewMonday and encouraging people to use the day as a chance to check in with friends and family. 

On their website, they say “At Samaritans we know there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ – we all have our good days and our bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar to decide”.

Normalising conversations

Many organisations, Croud included, now use the day as a means to discuss wellbeing and mental health. With ‘blue Monday’ falling within Croud’s Wellness Month, the day does provide us with another great opportunity to focus our attention on wellbeing. From having a virtual cup of tea or yoga session with our colleagues, to just checking in on friends and family – it serves as a great way to normalise and continue the conversation. 

by Croud
17 January 2022

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