Blue Monday

[Featured Image Credit: Eric Martin]

Do you know what this past Monday was? It was ‘Blue Monday’.

What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday, the Monday in the last week of January, is a term coined by health officials for the most depressing day of the year. Why? It’s due to multiple reasons including:

  • Bills needing to be paid (after holiday expenditures)
  • The holiday season being over, meaning fewer interactions with friends and family and settling into the school/work/daily routine
  • Inability to see through and stick to New Year’s resolutions
  • Overall gloomy winter season, contributing to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
Is there a scientific basis?
Well, somewhat. A professor from Cardiff University in Wales, Cliff Arnall, calculated Blue Monday to be the most gloomiest day of the year based on factors such as weather, debt, time passed since Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions, low motivation, and the need to take action (CBC News, 2014). However there is no wide-ranging scientific support for his theory, Dr. Arnall created the formula “1/8W+(D-d)3/8xTQMxNA” – which serves as the basis for the established day.
Whether or not you experienced Blue Monday, depression, SAD and mental health in general is an important conversation nonetheless. If you’re feeling persistently sad, or if your mental health is negatively impacting your daily life, it is worthwhile to seek out the opinion and help of a trusted physician.

What are some practical tips to beat Blue Monday symptoms or maybe SAD symptoms?

  • Get out: Make sure you receive at least 10 minutes of sunlight every day. This can boost your mood instantly.
  • Exercise: Exercise is known to clinically result in decreased levels of depression. Get those endorphin levels up whether its hitting the gym, going for a brisk walk or dancing like a maniac in your room!
  • Eat healthy: Make sure you make good eating choices. Avoid those carbs, sugary-filled foods, and opt for fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Plan fun activities: January is usually the odd month without any major holidays or festive activities. Plan in time to socialize with friends, explore your city and schedule ‘you-time’ to do the things you love.
Mental health is as crucially important as is your physical well-being. Negative mental health is something that affects the many people time to time, whether is due to school, work, name it! Make sure you listen to your body and mind at all times. Below are some helpful links to refer to:
Canadian Mental Health Association:
Ontario Mental Health Helpline:
CBC News. (2014). Blue Monday, saddest day of year, affects 10% of Canadians.

Leena is a current undergraduate student in her final year of the Honours Life Sciences (BSc .) program at McMaster University. Her experience in taking a minor in Business has broadened her interests in the cross-sectional fields of science, business and health studies. When she is not busily writing, she assists students in branding themselves for success through the use of McMaster’s Learning Portfolio.


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