Editor's note: This story originally published in 2017.
The third Monday in January is supposedly the gloomiest day of the year as people come down from holiday-highs and look towards the distant light of summer.
But why is this day so much more depressing than all the others? Apparently, it’s not.
Years ago, a researcher, who worked as a tutor at Cardiff University, came up with a mathematical equation that determined the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year, according to the International Business Times.
Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery at the London-based Mental Health Foundation, said in a blog post that “Blue Monday” isn’t a real thing.
“'Blue Monday' – a calculation based on factors such as weather conditions, debt levels, time since Christmas and time since failing our new year’s resolutions – was created in 2005 to sell summer holidays,” she said in a blog post. “Since then it has become a yearly PR event and primarily a device to promote and sell things, often tenuously linked, to improving our well-being.”
Goldie said it’s vital to differentiate between feeling sad or gloomy for a day and real mental illness. So, yeah you might be reeling from the holidays and feeling a little down, but Blue Monday is not the most depressing day of the year, she said.
“The idea that depression can somehow be calculated by formula is seen by many to trivialize their lived experience,” Goldie said in the blog post.
Goldie notes that the Blue Monday theory isn't completely off, because mental health is affected by the environment. She points to seasonal affective disorder, a depression that occurs around the same season each year.
"The major risk factors for mental ill-health (poverty, trauma, loneliness, ongoing stress and physical ill-health) are not confined to one month, let alone one day," she said. "We can debate seasonal variations, in the knowledge that some people living with mental health problems may find the winter months harder, but we know that mental health problems impact on people all year round and that many people struggle to ask for or seek help."
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.
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