What is "Blue Monday"?

17.01.2022 Category: General Health Author: Dr Will Cave

Blue Monday happens every year on the third Monday of January. It is supposedly the most depressing day of the entire year, based on a crude calculation of bad weather, long nights, back to work dread and post-Christmas debt.  

It does sound very plausible but Blue Monday is in fact, a myth! 

The phrase “Blue Monday” was coined by Sky Travel in 2005 as a way to sell holidays in January. They highlighted all the seasonal negatives to reinforce the benefits of booking a holiday – a clever marketing trick. 

But can we really pinpoint the most depressing day of the year?

There is no actual scientific studies that have ever backed up any claims about Blue Monday being true or that there could even be a “most depressing day of the year”. This does make sense because this would be different for each and every one of us based on personal circumstances and the variables are extensive.

Perhaps then instead of selecting just one day of the year to highlight depression, we should be thinking about mental health, specifically poor mental health, everyday.

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. It can be long lasting and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Once accessed by a doctor, they will conclude the severity of your depression.

A simplified description follows: Mild depression will have some impact on your daily life, moderate depression has a significant impact on your life and severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life.

Sometimes there’s a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or giving birth, can bring it on. Other times, it can be linked with family history, people with family members who have depression are more likely to experience it themselves. But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason. It is quite complex and each person is unique.

There are many symptoms of depression and the combination is unpredictable. They can be categorised at physiological, physical and social symptoms.

Some examples of psychological symptoms of depression include:

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

Some examples of physical symptoms of depression include:

  • moving or speaking slower than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • constipation
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • low sex drive
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning

Some examples of social symptoms of depression include:

  • avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home, work or family life

The most common symptoms of depression tend to be a low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy, problems with sleep and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy but it can be any number of symptoms listed above. 

It’s important to seek help from a GP if you think you may be depressed. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery. 

For more information on GP services at Fleet Street Clinic, click here.