Forget the avocado toast, it’s the “Blue Monday” myth that needs debunking! This blog post explores the origin and validity of the claim that the third Monday of January is the gloomiest day of the year. Buckle up for a rollercoaster of marketing gimmicks, dubious formulas, and a healthy dose of scientific skepticism.
Is Blue Monday the real deal, or just a case of the January blues?
In 2005, Sky Travel, a defunct UK travel company, coined the term “Blue Monday,” claiming it as the day happiness plummets to its annual nadir. But before you stock up on comfort food and cancel your plans, hold onto your optimism.
Unmasking the Marketing Gimmick:
Dr. Samar McCutcheon, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, exposes the truth: “Blue Monday” was a clever, albeit questionable, marketing ploy to boost travel bookings during a traditionally slow period. Its effectiveness remains murky, considering Sky Travel is now a relic of the past. However, the myth, ironically, continues to travel, outliving its creator.
The Curious Case of the “Depression Formula”:
So, how did Sky Travel pick January’s third Monday over, say, National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day? They consulted a psychologist and concocted a “depression formula.” Intriguing, right? But hold your applause.
Formula Flawed: Science Says “Meh”:
This formula, a cryptic jumble of variables like weather, debt, and missed resolutions, lacks the crucial ingredient: scientific backing. Dr. McCutcheon aptly highlights the absurdity of expecting one equation to capture the universal spectrum of human emotions.
Beyond the Myth: Celebrating Individual Experiences:
The third Monday of January can be anything but blue for many. It could be a day of love, joy, achievement, or simply peaceful contentment. Remember, individual experiences trump universal pronouncements.
Beware the Power of Suggestion:
Declaring a day the “most depressing” can trivialize depression’s true nature and undermine the struggles people face year-round. Moreover, the power of suggestion can trick us into feeling down simply because we “should” be.
Final Verdict: Blue Monday – Marketing Myth, Not Mood Meter:
So, should you prepare for doom and gloom today? Absolutely not! Instead, embrace the day for its unique potential, free from the shackles of a manufactured myth. After all, happiness, like good sushi, is best savored individually, not dictated by a calendar.
But January Can Still Be Tough:
While “Blue Monday” is a myth, there are reasons why January in general and not a particular day in January may be particularly tough for many people.
- Less Sunlight: In the Northern Hemisphere, November through February is when daytime gets shorter. Less sunshine exposure can affect melatonin secretion in ways that can adversely affect mood, energy and sleep patterns.
- Weather Blues: Moreover, colder and more inclement weather can prevent you from doing outdoor activities that you would typically enjoy.
- Broken Resolutions: January is also when you begin failing to fulfill all those New Year’s resolutions that you made.
- Post-Holiday Blues: Plus, January is when you have to deal with the aftermath of those December Holidays and New Year’s Eve and Day such as the weight gain from Holiday food binging, the unpleasant revelations and arguments that arose during Holiday gatherings, the debt from shopping and all those fruitcakes that you received.
So How Can We Cope with the January Blues?
Rather than arbitrarily choosing a single day in January and saying, “How does it feel” in the words of the New Order song Blue Monday, it may be better to raise awareness of how people may be feeling this month in general. January is a prime month for people to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is when people experience depression during particular seasons, typically the Winter seasons. SAD affects about five percent of all adults in the U.S. for about 40 percent of the year, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Even if you don’t officially have SAD, the Winter months can bring you the Winter blues that leave you feeling more down and longing for the warmth and revitalization of Spring.
Therefore, it will be especially important this month to practice good self-care. McCutcheon recommended “practicing good sleep hygiene by having a set bedtime and wakeup time, taking daily walks outside to get natural sunlight, and exercising routinely. You can also eat healthy foods and avoid misuse of substances like alcohol.”
Remember, You’re Not Alone:
January can be a tough month, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.