Chin Up! Blue Monday is Actually a Load of Bollocks

By Gerald Lynch on at

Yes, it's cold out. Yes, it's dark out. Yes, it's the first day after the glorious respite from week-long drudgery that is the weekend. But to brand this particular January day as the so-called annual "Blue Monday"? Please don't buy into this -- it's lining pockets and profiting off your right to be moody on any day you damn well please.

Like pretty much any noted day in the calendar, Blue Monday, along with Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, was established to wrangle what few coppers you have sitting in your wallet. As Dr Ben Goldacre over at Bad Science put it two years ago, Blue Monday was conjured up by Sky Travel, in order to shill a few extra holidays when people were just getting over the Christmas hump. Blue Monday was designed to magnify those New Year worries, and offer an almost-scientific reasoning to justify an impulse to indulge in some retail therapy.

It's all there -- the potential to tap into those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, landing slap-bang in the middle of the month when funds are running low, the resolutions have become a chore and the Christmas treats have lost their lustre.

Some experts even initially offered full studies into the phenomenon claiming its validity. Dr Cliff Arnall, formerly of Cardiff University, created a "mathematical formula" to explain the "most depressing day of the year", which the university has since distanced itself from (despite itself initially revelling in the PR buzz).

Now, highlighting mental health issues is a worthy cause, and one that shouldn't be passed over. But ignoring Blue Monday should be encouraged if for no other reason than its seasonal placement may be totally off -- hospital admissions for depression appear to peak in August in some reports, while there are so many varied findings that trying to pinpoint one particular season, let alone day, is futile.

Futile, of course, unless you're trying to shift a holiday -- it's a lot easier to lay out all the wonders of the Bahamas on a wet January morning than when the sun is shining warmly on an August afternoon.

So, as the deluge of studies, reports and Blue Monday cures trickle in this morning (I've already had press releases on divorce advice and SAD lamps, to counteract the despair that these companies assume our readers are feeling), keep your chin up and put the kettle on. You may be feeling down, and that's fine -- it's bloody Monday morning, and you're probably still coming down from Saturday night. But in all honesty, you're probably fine -- don't let any company convince you otherwise.

"Tell me now how do I feel?"

Front Image Credit: Hermosa Vintage