Is Blue Monday real? The ‘science’ behind the most depressing day of the year. by  Gemma Mullin, Daily Mirror on 18th January 2016

Monday, which falls on the 18th January, is said to be a combination of weather, debt problems and a return to work after Christmas

(Depressing: Blue Monday is said to be the third Monday in January and apparently the ‘most depressing day of the year’)

We may have just had the most wonderful time of the year but it’s almost time for what’s branded the most miserable.

The third Monday in January is commonly known as Blue Monday and this year it falls on the 18th.

It’s supposedly a combination of the weather, debt problems, low motivation, a return to work after Christmas and abandoned New Year resolutions .

But what’s the science behind the ‘most depressing day of the year’?

In simple terms there isn’t really any valid proof that Blue Monday is real.


Research: There is no valid scientific evidence that proves Blue Monday is a real thing

It was a concept first coined in 2005 by holiday company Sky Travel as part of its marketing campaign, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The idea was to get potential customers thinking about summer holidays to beat off those January blues.

Sky claimed it had analysed when people book holidays, and other factors such as the weather and post-Christmas slumps and set up the first Blue Monday for January 24, 2005, reports Get Reading.

The Echo reports that the original 2005 press release claimed to have scientific research, including equations, to back up its claims.

Read more: Expert tips for booking cheap holidays – how to beat the January blues for less

The sum includes variables such as “weather”, “time since Christmas”, “debt level”, “motivational levels” and “time since failure to keep new year’s resolution” – which scientists say aren’t part of the metrical system.

However, this equation has since been debunked and labelled “pseudoscience”, with many experts claiming it to be total nonsense.

Dean Burnett, a doctor of neuroscience and Cardiff University lecturer, writing in a column in the Guardian, said: “It is unscientific. It is pseudoscientific. It is uberpseudoscientific.”

He added: “The equation itself is farcical.”

It was published under the name Dr Cliff Arnall, who at the time was said to be a psychologist at a further education centre attached to Cardiff University.

The university later released a statement distancing themselves from the study, claiming he was a former part-time tutor that had left but there has since been reports that no one in the department has ever heard of a Dr Arnall.

Campaign: Blue Monday was a concept first coined in 2005 by holiday company Sky Travel to encourage people to book summer holidays

But the so-called professor also hedged his bets at guessing the happiest day of the year too in 2005.

He predicted it to be on June 24, after working with the ice cream maker Walls to come to this decision.

The initial marketing campaign may have worked though as travel firm Thomas Cook says it’s predicting it’s busiest weekend – which they are calling ‘Jet Set Saturday’.

It carried out research which found that 31% of Brits book a holiday in January for the year ahead, with nine in ten saying this helps them to get through the long first month of the year.

Read more: Book yourself an appointment with good health in 2016 with these easy tips

Another six in ten would also like to try to avoid the January blues by seeing in the New Year abroad if money was no issue, with New York, Australia, Barbados, Las Vegas and the Canary Islands the most popular destinations.

January Blues are more scientifically recognised by experts as being a time when people kind find themselves feeling a little low.

Recent research has revealed that January is also the month Brits feel at their loneliest with almost a third of Liverpudlians feeling alone followed by 29% of Londoners.

The end of Christmas, a long wait until the summer holidays, and proximity to Valentine’s Day for single people, are among the factors that making this time of year unbearable.

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Science: Experts have since debunked the concept as “pseudoscience” with many saying its nonsense

Professor Ed Watkins, a psychologist at University of Exeter, said: “There are