Blue Monday: fact or fiction?

Blue Monday: fact or fiction?

Today – January 17 – is Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year. But does this phenomenon really exist, or is it a fabrication?

'Scientific' formula
The name Cliff Arnall is often associated with Blue Monday. The British psychologist and lecturer at Cardiff University devised a 'scientific' formula in 2005 to show that people are more likely to feel depressed on Blue Monday – the Monday of the last full week of January.

According to him, this is due to a combination of factors: the holidays are over, people have eaten and drunk a lot and feel unhealthy. They have spent a lot of money on Christmas gifts and the next paycheck is yet to come. In addition, it is cold, and dark early.

According to the British Mental Health Foundation, the formula looks like this:


• W = weather
• D = debt
• d = salary
• T = time elapsed after Christmas
• Q= successful New Year's resolutions
• M = motivation level
• After = need to take action

Publicity stunt
There was a lot of criticism, because this formula turned out to be completely unscientifically substantiated. Blue Monday – including the formula – was previously conceived by the British PR agency Porter Novelli, on behalf of a travel agency. It was supposed to get people to book tickets to the sun. So it's a publicity stunt.

Happiness hormone
Although there is no such thing as a Blue Monday, many people do suffer from a winter dip at this time. This is partly due to the low temperatures and a lack of sunlight. Psychology Magazine gives a couple of simple tips against gloomy feelings: eat healthy, drink little alcohol and try to go outside regularly for some exercise. This is because your brain produces endorphins: the well-known happiness hormone.

So: don't let Blue Monday get you down, put on your shoes and get out the door!

Annick Oosterlee

Community Manager
Schiphol Real Estate
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