A version of this article was first published in 2018 and we’re sharing it pretty much as it was because the whole corporate invention of “Blue Monday” continues to be peddled as “science”, and there’s only so many ways to say that’s bullshit.
It’s the third week of January and with that comes the annual nonsense that is “Blue Monday”. Let’s be extremely clear: Blue Monday was a day chosen by UK TV channel Sky Travel in 2005 for an advertisement aimed at selling a sunny holiday to weary Brits – not the supposedly most depressing day of the year – yet it continues to be used by retail and marketing companies to sell offers, treats, treatments, and general prey to people’s anxiety every year.
The Blue Monday “Equation”
[W + (D-d)] x T x Q
M x NA
The Blue Monday “equation” is a public relations concoction that combines quantifiable but unrelated things like the number of days since Christmas (T), your debt level (D), your salary ( d) and mean temperature/time (W), then divided by arbitrary values for low motivation levels and need to act. If it looks like math, it must be real, it must be what people thought. And although it’s a mess of different and unrelated quantities, you still get a very specific date, which is always the third Monday in January.
The news has always been very vague about the details of this equation because the best lies, fabrications, and misinformation have the least amount of information. But if we were to seriously believe that this is a real equation, it would mean that our level of motivation is calculated in a currency and our need to act is a temperature (or vice versa).
The equation is terribly wrong and is only there to make this scientific nonsense appear. It’s kind of like sci-fi plots using made-up, science-sounding words for a deus ex machina. In fact, it’s worse. Science fiction at least has “fiction” in its title.
The only laudable thing we’ve seen come out of this PR nightmare is mental health charities in Britain and around the world using the date as a way to highlight mental health issues and the stigma associated with it. Given that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and almost a billion people are currently affected, according to the latest UN data (2022), this is more important than ever. .
Depression is a mental disorder that can affect anyone and can be the result of several genetic, environmental and psychological factors. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, contact your health care provider or there are several online resources that offer help, information and a listening ear, for example in the United States here or here. Depression should not be trivialized and should not be used to sell holidays.