Blue Monday – What is it and How to Cope

Over the last decade or so, the third Monday of January has been dubbed Blue Monday and is otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year. It’s said that it’s the time of year when we’re strapped for cash (mainly due to Christmas), cold, and guilty as our new year resolutions to be a better person have already gone by the wayside. Interestingly, the term was coined by Cliff Arnall, a psychologist, in 2004 after a holiday company asked him for a formula for the January blues. They then used the term to promote winter holidays. However, the idea of Blue Monday itself is not scientifically proven.

Although Blue Monday may not be backed by science, there is no doubt that people suffer from anxiety and depression on the day and through January in general. The silver lining is that since its invention, it has got more people talking and raised awareness about anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, it can be a difficult time of year, so here are some things you can do to beat the January blues:

Set Achievable Resolutions

Failing at your resolution early in January can prompt a negative reaction. By setting achievable goals rather than a complete lifestyle overhaul, you’re more likely to see it through, have a positive impact on your life, and see long-term benefits.


Exercise releases endorphins and chemicals in your body that will make you feel happier. NHS guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week and strength exercise two or more times a week for 19 – 64-year-olds. If this seems like a lot, just start with a brisk walk a couple of times a week, just try to increase your physical activity.

Make Plans

Whether it’s organising to meet a friend for coffee, planning and booking your next holiday, or looking for a new job. Starting to plan and book things for the year ahead will give you something to look forward to.

Listen to Music

Listening to music can have a major effect on your mood, so while the nights are dark and the weather is cold, listening to some pop music or anything upbeat is an ideal way to boost your mood. Maybe just save the Scandi thrash metal until the spring.

Eat Well

There is an increasing amount of evidence to show that eating a balanced and nutritious diet has a positive effect on your mental health. Reducing the cakes and fizzy drinks and increasing the amount of fruit, vegetables, grains, and pulses will make both your body and your mind feel better.