In 2004, a psychologist who worked for a travel company called SkyTravel produced a press release that garnered some popular appeal, arguing that there is a most depressing day of every year. It occurs around the third week of January. He called it Blue Monday. The idea was that a lot of unhappy and challenging things are peaking and intersecting on the same day at this time, making it the most depressing day of the year.
We don’t have to wonder too much about what this intersection looks like. Most obviously we have relatively unhappy factors like frigid weather and very little daylight. It is dark. It is cold. The days involve heavy jackets, toques, and staticky hair. They can also feature snow, sleet, and puddles. Things tend to be less fun than they might be.
Further, we’ve passed a holiday or celebration that many look forward to: Christmas or Chanukka or Kwanzaa. Even the relatively universally celebrated New Year’s has passed for many. We can’t look forward to these anymore. And many bills from the holidays are coming due.
But don’t fret. There are a few things to keep in mind about Blue Monday. The first is that this is not a scientific concept. Though this day is likely not as enjoyable as an ice-cream-flavoured jaunt though a lovely park in the middle of June, there’s no proof that this is actually the most depressing day of the year. You could have a perfectly lovely Blue Monday, curling up with loved ones to watch a long-awaited movie, or binge-watching a favorite TV series, or just reading on the couch together.
Another reason to be optimistic is that on Blue Monday we’re now three full weeks past December 21, the day with the shortest daylight. This means that, as unlikely as it seems, on December 22, we begin to rally. And by Blue Monday, we’re a full (but often unnoticeable) three weeks into the daylight getting … longer! The weather might not be following suit just yet, but rest assured that — barring a seismic shift in the laws of physics — we are soon going to be putting heavy jackets, sweaters, and toques in the closet. Spring is around the corner.
If that’s not enough to offer some hope, consider this. For what it’s worth, the psychologist who invented Blue Monday has changed course and has campaigned against it. Fear not. We will survive!