For many people Mondays are the most hated days of the week. Even Garfield hates them. The weekend has ended and it is time to return to the harsh reality of work and other important responsibilities. However, there is one Monday which is absolutely the worst of them all. A killer of joy and hope. The so-called Blue Monday, which is the most depressive day of the year and one of the media’s favorite topics.
Where did Blue Monday come from and is it really that bad?
Each year Blue Monday (in English, the phrase “to feel blue” means to feel depressed) falls on the third Monday of January. According to the creator of this phenomenon, the British psychologist Cliff Arnall, this is the time with the worst weather and meteorological conditions (coldness, snow, not enough of natural light.) Additionally, a significant number of people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions, which significantly undermines their psyche and well-being. Arnall even invented a special mathematical formula that allows you to calculate the quality of your mental health around the time of Blue Monday. So far it sounds logical and quite believable, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it seems. Only a few of the elements in the formula can be expressed with specific numbers: monthly pay, the sum of debt incurred and time which has passed since Christmas. Other factors such as the weather, motivation or the level of keeping the New Year’s resolutions are unmeasurable. A group of scientists and Cardiff University, with which Arnall was associated, loudly criticized the formula and calculations calling them groundless and unreasonable.
The source of the problem lies in the marketing, perfect on the one hand, however on the other controversial. In 2005, one of the travel agencies noted unsatisfactory sales of package tours. To raise their statistics and to earn money, they hired a marketing agency Porter Novelli. That agency turned to Arnell and asked him to calculate and promote a time period that will be the best to buy the trip. In order for the results to be more reliable, the agency asked a few scientists to support the thesis and sign their names under it (offering money for that of course). No one agreed, which is not really surprising.
It does not change the fact that people, companies and media have “bought” the pseudoscience and used it to their advantage. In many online stores, we will definitely see numerous discounts because of Blue Monday. It’s in the human nature that we like all kinds of reasons to reward and spoil ourselves, even the trivial ones. And isn’t “the most depressing day of the year” an ideal opportunity to spend a lot of money, buy an expensive gadget or just book a trip at a travel agency? Your lack of motivation and enthusiasm at work can also be explained in exactly the same way. Media advertise the subject, abandoning all research and treating Blue Monday as a real and scientifically proven phenomenon, so we also think that way and assume that just this one day we can let ourselves go.
Let’s not be fooled by the media – Blue Monday is a myth. We even have a proof of this straight from headhunting: over the past 10 years, we have recruited many candidates. For a few of them, their first day of work happened to fall on Blue Monday. As far as we know, it was a very good day for them, full of new experiences, challenges, positive energy and meeting new people.
What do you think about Blue Monday? Is the beginning of the year really the most depressing period?