Blue Monday 2023: What is it? And how to deal with it
by Harry •6 minutes read
Last updated: 13 Jan, 2023
The term Blue Monday is used to describe the day that is considered to be the most depressing day of the year.
It typically falls on the third Monday of January and is said to be caused by a combination of factors such as the weather and post-holiday blues following the Christmas period.
When is Blue Monday 2023?
This year, Blue Monday will fall on the 13th of January.
How is Blue Monday calculated?
The formula for Blue Monday is based on factors such as weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, New Year's resolutions and low motivation levels.
One example is the equation created by Arnall in 2006, which included factors such as time spent on cultural activities, relaxing, sleeping, and in a state of stress.
Despite much of the world accepting Blue Monday as a day of cultural significance, there is plenty of doubt among the scientific community on the credibility of any proposed equations. Dr Dean Burnett, a tutor at Cardiff University's division of psychological medicine and clinical neurosciences, described the formula as "farcical" and "nonsensical measurements."
Regardless of the doubt surrounding the mathematical equation that calculates the date for Blue Monday, it is impossible to deny that the winter months can often be more difficult for some people.
When we ignore the complex equations and simply consider the concept as a whole, the simple idea is clear to see: that all of the various factors can leave people feeling 'blue', hence why it is called Blue Monday.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some of the most important factors of Blue Monday are the cold weather, shorter days and lack of sunlight that occur during winter months like January.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons, most commonly in the fall and winter. It is thought to be caused by various factors, including changes in the amount of daylight, changes in circadian rhythms, and changes in the levels of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin.
Symptoms of SAD include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair; loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed; fatigue and low energy; difficulty concentrating; and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. Some people may also experience symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and social withdrawal.
Regardless of the criticism that Blue Monday has received, many people undoubtedly experience winter depressions and the January blues. Whether you struggle with the terrible weather, miss Christmas or find it difficult to get back into your regular work routine, Blue Monday is a very real thing for much of the world. But there are plenty of ways to help deal with the ways Blue Monday can make you feel.
How can you deal with Blue Monday?
One way to deal with Blue Monday or any other day that may be causing feelings of sadness or depression is to engage in regular exercise. Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, exercise can help to increase feelings of self-esteem and improve overall mood.
Another way to deal with Blue Monday is to make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep is important for overall physical and mental health, and a lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.
As mentioned before, Blue Monday is mostly caused by SAD. One of the main causes of SAD is the lack of sunlight in the winter months. If you are lucky enough for the clouds to part for a moment then a walk at lunch time could be beneficial. If the weather isn't on your side then there is a multitude of different sunlight lamps that studies have shown can mimic sunlight and increase your vitamin D levels. though efficacy varies from product to product.
As a last ditch effort some people swear by sun beds to keep up their Vit D levels, though please use these in moderation as obviously they can have negative as well as positive effects. Remember, if you do choose to use a sun bed, you don't need to feel embarrassed or vain. This isn't vanity, it's medicinal.
It's also important to make sure to eat well-balanced meals, because good nutrition can help to improve mood and overall mental health. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats can also help to improve mood, as can eating more fruits and vegetables. Going to the gym, getting a good night's rest and eating a healthy meal can make you feel great!
But everyone is unique and this may not work for you. Perhaps going out for an unhealthy meal, or ordering food to your home will lift your mood and help distract you from Blue Monday. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to indulge in unhealthy foods for the sake of your mental health. It's perfectly okay to have a pizza on Blue Monday, so long as you don't do this for the other 6 days of the week!
Of course, the key to a healthy diet is eating a wide variety of foods, and ensuring you don't consume unhealthy foods too regularly. An idea to live by when considering your diet is 'Everything in Moderation'.
Another way to deal with Blue Monday is to make sure to stay connected with friends and family. Social support is important for overall mental health, and spending time with loved ones can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Finally, it's important to remember that it's normal to have ups and downs in life and it's okay to not be okay. If you're feeling overwhelmed and need additional support, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can help you to develop coping strategies to deal with feelings of sadness or depression.
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