Jan 19, 2015
By Jane Brown
Is Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year or just a publicity stunt?
The Monday of the last full week of January, which happens to be today, has been named since 2005 as Blue Monday. Former Cardiff University researcher Cliff Arnall came up with the idea based on adding bad winter weather and debt from Christmas. But neuroscientist and current Cardiff lecturer Dean Burnett says it’s a PR stunt that was used by the people at Sky Travel who reached out to Arnall to come up with an equation for the most depressing day of the year to encourage people to book January vacations. Burnett blames slow January news cycles, general post holidays discontent and confirmation bias for the endurance of the term Blue Monday. He says it gives a wildly misleading portrayal of how mood and mental states work, suggesting they can be quantified with a simple and almost nonsensical equation.
The Canadian Mental Health Association does recognize that people tend to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder at this time of year.