Blue Monday

Why is Monday so far from Friday, and Friday so near to Monday?Unknown

Up and out by 6.30am on the early shift doing the school run this morning (thankfully a rare occurrence for this non-morning person) I learnt, courtesy of Virgin Radio Dubai that today is apparently ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year! Well isn’t that a cheery thing to hear at the start of the day!

Traditionally over the past few years the third Monday in January has been deemed as the day where people are feeling most down in the dumps affected by unpredictable factors around them including weather conditions, debt (paying off an expensive Christmas), the number of days elapsed since the end of the Christmas holidays, less daylight hours, broken New Years resolutions, low motivation levels and a need to take action in their lives.

ImageThat Monday Feeling (

The formula that calculates this day as being so depressing was devised by academic Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005, a former part-time tutor at a Further Education centre attached to Cardiff University (the university issued a formal statement published in the Guardian distancing themselves from Arnall and his so called scientific formula) using various factors to determined peoples mood levels.

\frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

W (weather) + D (unspecified) – d (debt)] T (time since Christmas) Q (time since failing our new year’s resolutions) over M (low motivational levels)  Na (the need to take action)

But despair not it all appears not to be true, Cardiff University went further with their reproach when the psychology department described the formula as “farcical”, with “nonsensical measurements”. The Guardian reported today that ‘Blue Monday’ is another example of bad science, a ludicrious equation that was in fact used by a travel company to encourage people to book their holidays in January, “The Blue Monday phenomenon receives more and more criticism every year, but it is just one of countless examples of media-friendly bad science used to promote products.” Arnall has since admitted that the formula is meaningless and he devised it for a travel company but that doesn’t stop it’s reappearance in the media every year.

The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that in fact this year the 6th of January was ‘Blue Monday’ when people returned to work heavyhearted after the festive break burdened with similar factors as Arnall identified. The change in date had reportedly come about as researchers analysed the mood changes and negativity in more than two million tweets made by Briton’s Twitter users, with nearly five times the average number of tweets relating to guilt as people break their New Years Resolutions and renounce on their promises to lead a healthier lifestyle. Other negative comments related to the January weather and it also pinpointed that men are generally feeling more miserable than women at this time of year.

As if a moody Monday wasn’t enough, the month of January has also been identified as ‘Divorce Month’ and the Mail also reported that ‘Blue Monday’ has been labelled ‘Divorce Monday’ by legal experts. January is the busiest divorce month (twice as many divorces being filed as September the next busiest) as couples have rowed over the festive break with marital upset caused by financial stress, excess alcohol, difference of opinions over chores and feuds with the in-laws coming out as the top reasons for New Year break-ups! Wow thought it was the season to be jolly!


Anyway it’s all pretty irrelevant over here in UAE as the first day of the working/school week is Sunday and Monday is just everyone else’s Tuesday, plus in this Muslim country and tax free existence, the Christmas effect is pretty non-existent. It did however give me a little chuckle (and kept me awake which is always a bonus when driving) as the ever popular Kris Fade, presenter on Virgin Radio’s breakfast show this morning got listeners to phone in and shout how happy they were on ‘Blue Monday’.

Happy Monday Everyone!

All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Blue Monday

  1. Hello JB – I’ve been meaning to pop over and say ‘salam’ from RAK. Thank you for visiting my blog and following – I’ve just read two of your posts and love your writing style – very entertaining. I read a good article by the Psychologist, Justin Thomas, in The National about Blue Monday and had a little chuckle, just as I did with yours. 🙂

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