By Lyndsey Hall
It’s officially the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday. Monday 21st January: almost a month since we were singing carols and eating turkey with wild abandon; we’ve now been back at work for at least two weeks; and yet payday is still over a week away.
Back in 2005, Dr Cliff Arnall, a self-professed “happiness guru” from Wales, created a formula to find the saddest day of the year. Considering factors such as debt levels, the weather and the time since Christmas, Arnall’s formula pinpoints the day on which people are most likely to feel just a little bit down. Maybe you’ve finally given up on your New Year’s resolutions, or perhaps you’re regretting polishing off all those mince pies over the festive period, and constantly checking your bank balance isn’t helping the situation one bit.
The true reason behind Dr Arnall’s research wasn’t simply to create a national duvet day, it was part of a genius marketing campaign by Sky Travel. The company asked Arnall to work out which day of the year was the best time to book your summer holiday, hoping to hit the populace with targeted marketing when we’re feeling at our most vulnerable and craving a bit of sunshine.
“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,” said Arnall. However, the formula doesn’t always point to the third Monday, Blue Monday has also been known to fall on the second, fourth or even fifth Monday, depending on the year.
In 2018, Dr Arnall teamed up with another holiday provider, Virgin Atlantic, to rebrand Blue Monday and shake off its image as the most depressing day of the year. The new vision for Blue Monday is to use it as a day of planning for what you want to achieve over the next twelve months. Arnall said, “Whether embarking on a new career, meeting new friends, taking up a new hobby or booking a new adventure, January is actually a great time to make those big decisions for the year ahead.”
To help you face Blue Monday with a smile, tackle that to-do list and jot down a few goals for the coming year, ITV has put together this list of six ways to improve the most depressing day of the year.