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The Blue Monday Theory

Posted by Andrew Chapman on January 14, 2022

A cup and saucer. The cup is filled with black coffee. The background is dark with white clouds. The words – Blue Monday – can be seen

The Blue Monday Theory

Blue Monday is the name given to the 17 January. This day is said to be the most depressing day of the year.  

The concept was first published by Sky Travel, who claimed to have calculated the date using an equation that takes into account weather conditions, and is only relevant to the Northern Hemisphere. This is most likely because Sky Travel only operated in the Northern Hemisphere (shocker!)

Alongside weather conditions, other things considered were debt levels, lack of support with debt post Christmas, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action.

An image of a mathematical equation known as the blue monday theory

Tt refers to travel time, D is delays, C is time spent on cultural activities, R is time spent relaxing, ZZ is time spent sleeping, St is time spent in a state of stress, P is time spent packing and Pr is time spent in preparation.

If you like mathematics, you'll realise what's wrong immediately. If not, let me explain! You can't make a formulation with just units of time, especially when the units of time aren't defined.

Is it minutes? Seconds? Hours? It's physically impossible to run this equation, therefore making it meaningless.

While the concept of Blue Monday is debated, if not completely debunked, the concept of Seasonal Affective Disorder is not. Depression and anxiety can be brought on by changes in the weather, the season and available light, so with that, it's always a good idea to look at the good and bad days of our mental health in everyday life.

Common Mental Health Problems

According to the UK Mental Health Foundation, mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in Britain, with over 7% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. A minimum of 10% of people in England will experience clinical levels of depression in their lifetime. (Source)

Common mental health problems, such as depression, are distributed according to a gradient of economic disadvantage across society. Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.

According to the registered charity, Mind, in any given week in England, 8 in 100 people are diagnosed with GAD, or Generalised Anxiety Disorder and 4 in 100 people with PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

an image of someone looking over some strees with concerned hands

Image by Ümit Bulut from Unsplash

Bear in mind the survey used here only included people aged 16 and over, living in private housing in England. This excluded anyone in hospital, prisons, sheltered housing, or living in homes which provide a little extra support, homeless, or rough sleeping, and people who are UK Residents outside of England.

The amount of people with common mental health problems went up by 20% between 1993 and 2014.

Thinking About Mental Health Every Day Of The Year

Identifying what the most depressing day of the year is, is a pointless endeavour, because realistically, it will be different for each one of us.

As each person's circumstances are different, the need for different avenues of support change. It's also important to distinguish between temporarily feeling sad, which we all relate to from time to time, and experiencing depression, or a mental health problem, that can be quite disabling in everyday life.

Despite the evidence behind Blue Monday being weak, there can be seasonal variations in our mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly shortened to SAD, features symptoms of depression that come and go in a seasonal pattern, and are usually more intense in the lower light months.

an image of a winter forest with snow on the trees

Image by Atle Mo from Unsplash

At Ability Superstore, we can provide support for Season Affective Disorder. In combination with our occupational therapist, we've got a few products that can provide relief and support from SAD, making each day a bit easier.

Our 10,000 Lux SAD Light is medically approved to mimic sunlight helping to keep SAD symptoms at bay. The benefits of this light are endless, from it's gorgeous representation of natural daylight, to its folding tripod and wall mounting function.

The Lifemax SAD Therapy Life Light is a sleek, minimalist mobility aid which can provide a flexible 2,500 lux, up to 10,000 lux. A great piece of equipment to help manage SAD. This light treatment requires no medicine, and can help relieve stress and aid in recovery from SAD using natural light simulation.

If you're wondering what lux is, it's a unit of measurement of light across 1 meter by 1 meter (that's 3.2 feet by 3.2 feet).

A dark night is around 3 lux, an overcast day is around 300 to 1000 lux, but most importantly, full daylight is 10,000 to 20,000 lux. Meaning the optimal light to simulate the sun is 10,000 lux!

Things that are known to be good for our mental health, such as exercising and spending time in green and blue spaces, are harder to do when the days are short and nights are long. Taking time to go walking during the day, getting fresh air, or even just popping to the shops, has many benefits, even with those with limited mobility. At Ability Superstore we have many occupational therapist approved mobility aids.

Things We Can Do To Protect Our Mental Health

Some tips to help cope with mental health issues, or protect your health, include:

  • Talk. Talk about your feelings to someone you know and trust.
  • Visit some open events – organised events with lots of people, such as park runs, or group walking.
  • Aromatherapy can be massively beneficial, (a holistic healing treatment that uses plant extracts to promote health and wellbeing); everyday use of aromatherapy humidifiers are a proven treatment for relaxation.
  • Walk your dog, or go with a friend, as this can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health.
  • Use outdoor aids for exercise and activity, a walking stick or walking frame can provide extra support

Try To Stay Connected

At times of stress, we work better with support and in company, so it helps to talk to your children, friends and family. Especially during our current state of still being in a pandemic, getting in touch with children and family is important. Ask how they are, and find out how they're feeling.

"Beginning a conversation with family members about our mental health can seem daunting, as the fear of being misunderstood or misrepresented can leave us to prefer silence. Additionally, parents may wish to conceal their mental health issues from their children as it may be viewed as not being ‘age appropriate', or parental vulnerability may seem alien to the family dynamic. However, children are most likely aware that a problem is occurring, and if parents are to lead by example, opening up about their mental health will make it easier, in turn, for their children to do so in the future" - Helen Spiers, Head of Counselling at Mabel Therapy

Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is important where available. 

A parent holding a child in a sillouhette on a hill

Image by Ante Hamersmit from Unsplash

Human beings are social animals, and to maintain our relationships and connections with other people matter. Several studies suggest that good relationships are associated with positive mental wellbeing. Strong relationships with family and friends can allow us to share our feelings and know that we are understood. Maintaining a balance of this provides an opportunity to share positive experiences, and can give us emotional support, as well as the chance to support others.

It is important however, to stay safe while meeting friends and going out to find support. We are still living in a pandemic, just something to bear in mind.

Here To Help

Whether you're in the market for a new walking frame, outdoor aids, a mobility scooter, or just a general mobility aid, Ability Superstore is the largest independent mobility aids shop in the country.

Here you will find advice, tips and a complete range of independent living aids that can assist with walkingbathingdiningcookingsleeping and much more.

Our mission is to provide one of the widest ranges of mobility aids available in the UK at competitive prices, together with a vast array of useful mobility information and advice, coupled with the very best in customer service support.

The Ability Superstore head office family know all about our extensive range of mobility aids products, from a walking frame and walking sticks to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, bathing aids, wheelchair accessories and everything in-between. We will help with professional guidance to suggest the right mobility aid for you, or your loved one, from choice through to delivery.


Please note that all content on this website (including, but not limited to, copy, images, commentary, advice, tips, hints, guides, observations) is provided as an informational resource only. It is not a substitute for correct and accurate diagnosis, or recommendation, or treatment by a medical professional. Please ensure that you obtain proper guidance from your GP, or other medical professionals. The information provided on this website does not create any patient-medical expert relationship and must not be used in any way as a substitute for such.