Blue Monday

“How does it feel,  to treat me like you do?”  


Wait! That’s the wrong Blue Monday…  


Most of us instantly think of the classic 1983 song by New Order when anybody mentions “Blue Monday”, but there’s actually a lot more to the name than first meets the eye.  Firstly, why blue? 


Colours can become synonymous with emotions and can often be intrinsically linked to the way we feel.   


Red is linked with feelings of anger, rage, passion and love.  


Orange represents energy and vitality.  


Purple embodies wealth and affluence.  

Green expresses abundance, nature and connectedness.  


And then there’s blue…  


Generally speaking, blue can represent a range of things, but often it is linked to sadness. As for why, well that’s up for debate. There are many theories as to why we link blue to sadness, it’s thought that it comes from old sailing ships that would fly a blue flag and paint a blue band along the hull when they lose their captain or officers when on their voyage.  


Other ideas date back to the United States in the 1600s, where it’s said people would tell stories of “blue devils” which would cause people to become depressed or feel melancholy.   


Either way, blue is now universally associated with sadness, which has now been engrained into our minds throughout our entire lives.   


So, what exactly is a “Blue Monday?” Is it just the day when the sky is the perfect shade of blue?   


Of course not!  


Let’s take a closer look into the theory behind its creation, and the possible implications that occur as a result.   


Blue Monday


What is Blue Monday?  


If you haven’t already put two and two together just from the name alone, then you might notice that both “Blue” and “Monday” have something in common, can you guess?  


Monday is the start of the work week in the majority of Western countries and signals the start of the traditional 9-5. Monday is often viewed as a day that invokes feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and sometimes even dread. Think of Monday as if sadness was a day, it’d be a Monday!   


Obviously, not everyone feels this sense of resentment towards Mondays, but a huge percentage of people do, so it’s not surprising that these two things have been bonded together, all because of the negative connotations they share.   


Blue Monday


The Origins of Blue Monday  


You’re probably thinking it dates to a book from hundreds of years ago and is part of English folklore, but you couldn’t be more wrong. In popular culture, most will have first heard the term as the name given to a popular song released by the British rock band New Order, back in 1983. A song that has been remixed and reimagined many times over the years and remains popular among partygoers to this day, especially on an 80’s themed club night!  


Believe it or not, this song has no link to the depressing Blue Monday that’s promoted by mainstream Western culture. Everyone knows that January is by far the darkest and coldest month of the year. The Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are over, you’re weighing in a few more pounds heavier on the scales, your wallet or purse is feeling lighter, and the nights are somehow getting even darker.   


The January blues have many similarities to Blue Monday, but they have much more scientific backing. The lack of sunlight means that people are not getting enough Vitamin D, which can increase cases of depression and other mental health conditions.  


Unless your birthday falls in January, then it’s highly likely it’s the one month in the year you can’t wait to be over and done with. Apologies to all the Capricorns and Aquarians out there!   


Blue Monday


Marketing and the Travel Industry   


Back in 2004, a travel company approached psychologist Cliff Arnall, asking him to find a scientific formula to legitimise “Blue Monday” and give it academic backing. It started as a marketing ploy to entice people into booking holidays and trips abroad during January, which is often one of the slowest months for sales because people are low on money.   


The specific date for Blue Monday is said to be the third Monday of January, which has also been referred to as ‘the most depressing day of the year.’   


The “Science”  


The formula that attempts to explain how the third Monday in January is technically the worst day takes into account the following things:   


W = Weather   


D = Debt   


d = Monthly Income   


T = Time since Christmas   


Q = Time since failing your New Year’s resolutions   


M = Low motivational levels  


Na = The feeling of needing to take action   


All these factors are added together to calculate when someone is in their lowest mood during the month. Although it looks scientific, there is no actual way to understand when someone will be at their lowest mood, or even how this would be calculated without running in-person tests, or even testing their hormone levels.    


The sole aim of this equation was to give justification for the travel industry to use people’s low mood and depression to promote their winter holiday packages to generate sales, which has long since been a controversial move.   


Blue Monday


Is Blue Monday Capitalising on Mental Health Struggles? 


The biggest issue with the creation of Blue Monday is how it seems to be utilising people’s mental health struggles to promote the selling of material products or experiences. Is this wrong? Well, it’s a method of marketing that has been around since the beginning of time.  


Piggybacking on someone’s low mood can be a powerful method of selling, and it’s used in virtually every industry and method of advertising. Everyone has their own views that are often linked to their moral beliefs about how you should be in the world, so there most likely isn’t a wrong or right answer to this conundrum.  


Although, it does seem distasteful to create a whole day and purposefully create a pseudoscientific explanation for people being unhappy or depressed, just to merely sell them a packaged holiday to “make them happy.”  


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)  


“January Blues” and “Blue Monday” are both metaphors for seasonal affective disorder, which affects us in, you guessed it, the winter season. This is the term given to the effects of the dark days and cold weather that can make many people experience seasonal depression.   


It’s nothing new, as a lack of sunlight can lead to a reduction of serotonin which is the hormone that affects our general mood, our sleep and even our appetite. SAD can impact physical health, as depression can cause the body to become fatigued, and levels of inflammation and chronic pain can increase.   



Changing Perceptions   


Changing the perception around “Blue Monday” is crucial to fostering a better understanding of mental health. Instead of reinforcing an arbitrary day for negativity, it’s essential to recognise that mental well-being is a complex, ongoing process.   


This shift encourages open conversations about mental health throughout the year, destigmatising struggles and promoting support. By dismantling the Blue Monday myth, society can focus on holistic approaches to mental health. Cultivating a culture that recognises the multifaceted nature of well-being encourages continuous efforts to address mental health challenges with compassion and effectiveness. 


Blue Monday



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 No matter what the medical issue, our team our here to help, the best way we can. If it’s a condition which we can treat, we can offer you a unique prescription specifically for you, depending on your symptoms. All you need to do is complete a short consultation form and one of our pharmacy team will be on hand at the other end to issue you the suitable treatment.