As the weather is still cold and the nights are still long, it's common to feel a bit down in January.
But one particular day in this month is believed to be the most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is calculated using a series of factors in a formula, although not particularly scientific.
The factors used to base the date of Blue Monday included days since the last payday, days until the next bank holiday, average temperature, hours of daylight, and the numbers of nights in during the month.
Some other factors include the amount of time since Christmas, and the time it typically takes for people to begin failing their New Year resolutions, and generally lose motivation.
The first Blue Monday was January 24, 2005, after Dr Cliff Arnall, a tutor at Cardiff University's Centre for Lifelong Learning, was asked to work out the most depressing day of the year.
The press release labelled Blue Monday was then released by Sky Travel to encourage people to buy holiday trips but has since become an annual event.
Many people started taking time to reflect or discuss on social media, and the PR industry use the day to push wellbeing products and fitness items.
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When is Blue Monday 2022?
Blue Monday usually falls on the third Monday of January every year.
The purported day of gloom for this year is Monday, January 17.
This is when, according to the formula, people will be most affected by the bleak winter weather, the post-Christmas comedown and being filled with guilt over failed New Year's resolutions and therefore most likely to feel sad or depressed.
And, people have over the past two years witnessed the trauma of dealing with the the pandemic and its effects on physical and mental health.
Why is Blue Monday the 'most depressing day' of the year?
Deciding which day is the "most depressing day" of the year involves various factors including everything from the distance from Christmas to the level of debt.
Others have linked Blue Monday to Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a kind of depression that comes and goes depending on the season.
However, Mental health charity Mind is derisive of the notion of Blue Monday, claiming the concept has no foundation in scientific research.
A statement on their websites says: "Here at Mind, we think it’s dangerously misleading.
"Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date.
What can you do about Blue Monday?
Exercise, starting an activity you've wanted to do for ages and enjoying time with loved ones all help to banish the winter blues.
Personal trainer Andy Ward advises that exercise is a great tonic to feeling down, and it's best to avoid binge-eating and shunning your mates.
He said: "Squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise, it could be a fast walk, a light jog, a relaxing swim, or an intense HIIT class – just move for thirty minutes to feel the benefits.
“There are dozens of different fitness classes available. January is a great time to take up new hobbies.”
There are many classes online – such as PE with Joe Wicks – so you can sign up or go on a walk in the countryside.
If you don't feel like getting active on the day itself you may want to book something to take your mind off it, even if it's something as simple as enjoying a home movie night.
However, if you are struggling with feelings of depression over a long period you should speak to your doctor, or a trusted family member or friend. For guidance please click here.
"Implying that they are perpetuates the myth that depression is just 'feeling a bit down', something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously."
Mind’s Head of Information Stephen Buckley said: “Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening. "
Multiple branches of the Samaritans charity across the UK are aiming to turn Blue Monday into Brew Monday, offering a brew and a chat at events across the country, the Samaritans helpline is free to call every day of the year.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.
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