How to combat Blue Monday?

January 18, 2021

The famous blue monday that we hear about every year. The mere pronunciation of it is a real morale booster.  

Yes, that's right, it's mid-January, and a Monday at that, the weather is gloomy, the festive season is getting old, we're still cooped up at home because of the coronavirus, sanitary conditions are tightening up... In short, a lot of factors are bringing on the blues.

We're just tired of looking at it negatively.

Where does Blue Monday come from?

Psychologist Cliff Arnall, a university professor practicing in Cardiff, Wales, is said to have "scientifically" proven in 2005 that the 3rd Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year.

Why scientifically?

He would have created an equation combining several factors meeting the following criteria:

  • it has to be a Monday, the first day of the working week,
  • rather towards the end of the month, but not too late, when the salary hasn't yet fallen,
  • when finances are at their weakest after holiday spending,
  • when Christmas is long gone and New Year's resolutions all but forgotten,
  • when the weather is wintry...

A few years later, Mr Arnall announced that he was not a professor at Cardiff University and that he had been paid by the travel agency Sky Travel to publish this formula. The aim was to prove that it was important to take vacations in January, a very difficult period for tourism given the weather in Europe.

To make this article more scientific, here's the famous formula not to be taken into account:

the blue monday formula


  • W stands for Weather
  • D-d is the difference between holiday spending and actual ability to repay before next payday(Debt)
  • T refers to the time elapsed since Christmas (Time)
  • Q to the time elapsed since our New Year's resolutions
  • M is Lack of motivation

and Na characterizes the "need to act".

How can we turn this "most depressing day of the year" into a positive?

Let's start by remembering that this is just a publicity stunt. So it's not the most depressing day of the year. And it depends on your interests. You may love the snow, while others prefer the sun! Your Blue Monday might be during a scorching summer, who knows?

Whether it's today or in the future, it's possible to fight against this infamous blue monday. Let's take the most recurring negative thoughts and turn them positively together:

#1 It's Monday

Mondays have a bad reputation in the world of work. Which is a pity, because working in a field you enjoy shouldn't be considered a nuisance.

I invite you to ask yourselves two questions:

  • Why don't I like Mondays? What don't I like about my job?

Talk to your close colleagues about improving your sense of well-being at work. It could certainly lead to new suggestions that haven't yet been imagined.

  • What do I want to accomplish this week?

Monday means a new week and new challenges! If you don't like waking up and going to work right now, don't worry, just imagine what you could accomplish. You've got the urge to paint, read the latest Agnès Martin-Lugand novel, make that DIY (Do It Yourself) or binge-watch the famous Bridgerton series on Netflix. Dedicate yourself to this little pleasure for v

#2 The weather is bad

If you too live in a region or country where rainy days (normally) outnumber sunny ones, then January is certainly the month with the least sunshine. However, according to the IRM, in 2020 there were only 169 days of rain in Belgium, and a good 1838h 40 min of sunshine. Suffice to say, these days, our winters aren't the harshest. On the other hand, these records are not very positive for the planet's evolution.

In a few words, let's be happy if it snows, rains or is gloomy in January, because that's normal in our Western countries; the opposite should worry us.

Of course, it's a proven fact that the weather has a psychological impact - we don't underestimate it, but it's useful to know. So compensate for this drop in morale by concocting your favorite hot drink, and sharing it is even better!

I only have one question: Tea or coffee?

#3 Holidays are far behind and far ahead

Given the health season, it's all the more difficult to get away from it all. The best way to overcome the need for time off is to disconnect from work whenever possible.

Once you've turned off the computer, whether on a weekday evening or at the weekend, put all your professional concerns in the back of your mind and don't touch it again until the next time.

Tip: Write down on a sheet of paper or in Evernote all the things you're worried about at work, all the priorities you're afraid you won't achieve. Then put it away. You'll be able to focus on them in due course.

#4 Lack of contacts

The benefits of face-to-face contact can never be replaced by those of virtual contact. Unfortunately, we currently have no choice. However, we are fortunate to have technologies that enable us to stay in touch and even see our loved ones from a distance.

  • Tip n°1

Set up informal video-conference calls via ZOOM with friends and colleagues. You'll see that it's already a game-changer!

  • Tip #2

Use the gifts you received at Christmas, spend some time reviewing your photo albums or creating new ones from recent years. I'm sure you're not up to date in this respect. It's a great way to put a smile on your face and remember happy times.

  • Tip no. 3

Last but not least, go for a walking meeting with your loved ones! Walking meetings are outdoor get-togethers where you walk around and talk. They allow you to keep your distance, to be hidden away, but above all to see your loved ones in real life. It also works in the business world, and is becoming increasingly popular!

#5 I'm out of money.

In fact, on January 18, the salary had not yet fallen, and finances were at their lowest after the expenses of the end-of-year festivities.

It's an added stress to have to tighten your belt to eat and not have the opportunity to buy what you want.

Let's put a different spin on it: now's the time to use your creativity and innovate. You've always wanted to change that corner of your home, but never took the time to do it, so head over to pinterest for some inspiration.

If you've got some unused items, get them back and turn them into a family hobby by embarking on a fun DIY project together.

You've only got enough money left to eat? It's time to try out some new recipes! Marmiton is so full of recipes, both simple and original, that you're sure to find what you're looking for, whether you're a great cook or not!

As you can see, despite a seemingly very negative situation, now is the time to devote yourself to your well-being and your desires. Focus on what you need. If you feel good, Monday will no longer be a hellish day to get up in the morning! Your work will no longer be an obligation, but a pleasure to be able to contribute to the smooth running of the company!

Take care of yourself and don't be overwhelmed by everything you see on social networks. Blue monday isn't that depressing if you decide to be!

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