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What is Blue Monday?

Posted by Francis Whitehead on January 15, 2024

Text reading "What is Blue Monday?" above sad face drawn in the condensation of a window

You might be seeing the odd blog or article about preparing for Blue Monday, but what actually is Blue Monday? If your brains like mine, you might be harking back to a certain hit by New Order!

Blue Monday occurs every year, falling on the third Monday of January. It is said to be the most depressing day of the year, which gives it a fitting namesake! This year in 2024, it falls on the 15th.

Why is Blue Monday the saddest day of the year?

There are multiple factors that contribute to Blue Monday feeling so blue. The infinitely cold, wet, dark, miserable weather that has seemed to last for an eternity for starters! Another factor is the post-Christmas slump where you return to work as if the fun festive period never happened as you patiently wait for your debts to be paid off.

With so many factors to take into account, a scientific equation was made by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004.

Blue Monday equation

If you can’t make heads or tails of that, the equation is as follows:

  • W = weather
  • D = debt
  • d = monthly salary
  • T = time since Christmas
  • Q = time since failing our new year's resolutions
  • M = low motivational levels
  • Na = the feeling of a need to take action

While the factors seem generally agreeable, if you’re a budding mathematician, you'll realise the problem 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? What makes it fall on the third Monday of January every year? Virtually every unit is a variable so it's physically impossible to run this equation!

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in 2013, Arnall himself said his own formula was "not particularly helpful", adding: "I was originally asked to come up with what I thought was the best day to book a summer holiday but when I started thinking about the motives for booking a holiday, reflecting on what thousands had told me during stress management or happiness workshops, there were these factors that pointed to the third Monday in January as being particularly depressing".

Mental health charity Mind has dismissed the formula too, saying it trivialises people with mental health issues.

So, there you have it, an improbable equation commissioned by holidaymakers to convince people to go abroad after Christmas, therefore debunking it as just pseudoscience, or as what you and I might call, a load of mumbo-jumbo!

The Truth about Blue Monday

While the concept of Blue Monday is debated, if not completely debunked, the concept of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not. With the miserable weather previously discussed, the constant cold and dark can make massive disruptions to all the chemicals in our body that keep us ticking, leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

With the lack of sunlight (especially in this country!), our circadian rhythms which help dictate our sleep cycles struggle to keep up. This meddles with our production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy, as well as our serotonin levels, which affect our mood.

This can all have a knock-on effect, leading to lower energy levels, unhappier moods, more sensitivity to stress and even craving more carbohydrates!

So that’s the science behind it, but how can we tackle it?

Lifemax SAD Therapy Life Light

Lifemax SAD Therapy Life Light

The solution is easier than you think! Lifemax created this SAD Therapy Life Light to help supply you with your recommended daily dose of lux, something that a lot of people won’t be getting throughout the winter season.

This handy gadget employs an LED panel for illumination, which benefits from an extended life and a reduced power consumption. The Lifemax SAD Therapy Life Light's powerful LED panel emits 10,000 lux, as recommended by

You can use it in the daytime hours when the sun would usually be out, and this tricks your brain into getting your circadian rhythm back on track, thus aiding in the production of serotonin and melatonin! How’s that for some real science?

Brew Monday

So, while we’ve gotten to the real reasons why Blue Monday can feel so blue, it’s important to note that considering our mental health and wellbeing shouldn’t be just for one day, but every day of the year.

That’s why mental health charity and support group Samaritans have had the brilliant notion of ‘Brew Monday’, which encourages us to reach out to our friends have a conversation over a good cuppa.

You can organise a tea party either in person or virtually through Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, or Messenger.

We’re pleased to say we have everything you need that can help with a tea party too, from adaptive utensils, two handled mugs, tea bag squeezers, two handled teapots, kettle tippers, even self-stirring mugs!

You can have a Brew Monday any day of the week, so there’s never been a better time to catch up with your friends.

Get in Touch

We hope you’ve found this blog particularly useful this time of year. If you have any questions about any of the products featured in this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team. We will be more than happy to help!