Today is the most depressing day of the year...

The Momentum UK Team 20 January 2014

According to some, today is ‘Blue Monday’, aka the most depressing day of the year.

Although the first Monday of January was reported by many media outlets to be ‘Blue Monday’, this formidable title has traditionally been assigned to the third Monday of January, which means that this year, according to this tradition, it falls today: the 20th January 2014.

For many, January is seen as a month-long ‘hangover’ after overindulgence at Christmas. The Money Advice Service published research that indicated nearly 1.2m people would take out a payday loan in December 2013 to cover the cost of Xmas, with people planning to spend an average of £822 on Christmas overall according to a YouGov survey.

With wages often paid early in December, many workers are strapped for cash throughout January as credit card bills hit the doormat. Seasonal affective disorder, overcast weather, flooding, overindulgence, shorter daylight hours, credit card bills and the end of Christmas are all thought to contribute to the gloomy outlook of January.

Dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by professor Dr Cliff Arnall in around 2005, the date of the most depressing day of the year was worked out using a pseudo scientific equation which took into account variables such as debt and the time elapsed since Christmas. It is widely thought that the formula was created as a publicity stunt for Sky Travel.

In 2010 Blue Monday ‘creator’ Arnall commented to The Telegraph:

"I was originally asked to come up with what I thought was the best day to book a summer holiday but when I started thinking about the motives for booking a holiday, reflecting on what thousands had told me during stress management or happiness workshops, there were these factors that pointed to the third Monday in January as being particularly depressing ... but it is not particularly helpful to put that out there and say 'there you are' … it is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that it is the most depressing day."

Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) is running an alternative ‘Blooming Monday' campaign today, encouraging workers to wear bright colours in support of depression and seasonal affective disorder. They hope that the colourful garments will ward off the blues.

Tea company Tetley have also attempted to reclaim ‘Blue Monday,’ suggesting that the cheerier title of ‘Brew Monday’ might be more appropriate. Tetley collaborated with psychologist Judi James, on a survey of 2,000 which suggested that 29% of people fight off the January blues with the help of a steaming cuppa.

While Blue Monday has a reputation for being the glummest day of the year, Friday 24th January 2013 has been named by a survey as the day people are most likely to break their New Year’s resolutions, according to The Independent.