Blue Monday: Is today really the saddest day of the year in Germany?

Blue Monday: Is today really the saddest day of the year in Germany?

It's a truth (pretty much) universally acknowledged that January is the worst month of the year - especially if you're unlucky enough to be living in the northern half of the world. The weather is bad, the holidays are over and the summer is long, long way away. In short: there's little to look forward to. 

But even more specifically, it has been calculated that one day, in particular, is the most depressing day in the whole calendar year, and this day has, rather aptly, been dubbed Blue Monday. But what and when is Blue Monday, and what are some of the things you can do to help get yourself through the dark and dreary days in January? Read on to find out!

Blue Monday meaning: What is the "most depressing day of the year"? 

Blue Monday is generally considered to be the third Monday in January, which has been dubbed the "most depressing day of the year". 

The concept was first thought up by Cliff Arnall, a British psychologist who back in 2004 created a formula for the January blues - a term used to describe the general feeling of bleakness that many experience at the start of the new year.

Arnall’s formula takes a number of factors into account, including weather, salaries, debts, and the amount of time that has passed since Christmas, in order to precisely determine which day is the bluest day in January:


In this formula, “W” stands for weather, “D” for debt and “d” for monthly salary, while “T” means the time since Christmas, and “Q” means the time since failing in a new year’s resolution. Finally, the “M” is low motivation, and "Na" is the feeling of a need to take action.

Arnall used the formula on behalf of the travel company Sky Travel in a promotional campaign which encouraged members of the public to book a holiday in the sun in order to escape the dreary winter at home.

When is Blue Monday 2024?

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of January each year, meaning that in 2024 Blue Monday is on January 15, 2024. 

Why the third Monday in January?

Arnall told The Daily Telegraph back in 2013 that several factors "pointed to the third Monday in January as being particularly depressing" - something that his complicated mathematical formula appears to confirm. 

Arnall has, however, publicly said that the formula he used is essentially pseudoscience, adding that by labelling a specific day as Blue Monday, it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Indeed, social media analysis by drinks company Upbeat previously found that people are more likely to express negative opinions and feelings of guilt on Blue Monday, while lawyers and legal experts have dubbed the day Divorce Monday on the basis that it is the most popular day of the year to start divorce proceedings

Tips for beating the seasonal blues

It's common to feel low this time of year, but it can help to take some positive actions. Here are some ideas to help you get through the next few weeks. 

1. Book a holiday 

This might not be within everyone's budget right now, but if you've got a bit of extra cash to spend, why not mark Blue Monday the way Sky Travel intended and book a trip abroad? That way, you have something to look forward to in the not-too-distant future.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a big enough budget for a holiday, consider planning a weekend away, or even just a fun day out exploring a German city or town you’ve never been to.

2. Spend time with loved ones 

If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, put your phone and laptop away and make a plan to do something with friends or family. Maybe go out for a walk, play some board games, or cook a meal together.

3. Practice some positivity

This might be easier said than done, but one way to survive Blue Monday is to actively work against the feelings of melancholy you’re supposed to be feeling. Get those endorphins pumping and do some exercise, or take some time out of your day to think about things that you’re grateful for, or things that you want to achieve in the future. 

4. Talk to someone

If you find that you’re really struggling with your mental health reach out to a loved one or a professional to talk; a problem shared is a problem halved, after all. 

Some Blue Monday quotations to help shake the blues away

And, finally, if you just need some positive thinking to get you started, here are some fun, occasionally inspirational, and definitely relatable Blue Monday quotes that will hopefully put a smile on your face: 

  • Hey, I know it’s Monday. But it’s also a new day and a new week. And in that lies a new opportunity for something special to happen.” - Michael Ely
  • “Mondays are the start of the workweek which offers new beginnings 52 times a year!” - David Dweck
  • “When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” - Ella Woodward
  • “The only good Monday is a Monday in bed.” - Lee Horton
  • “Monday is an awful way to spend 1 / 7 of your life.” - Steven Wright
  • “If each day is a gift, I’d like to know where to return Mondays!” - John Wagner

Blue Monday begone!

Whether or not you think Blue Monday is "real", don't let it get you down. Here's hoping your third Monday in January is a happy one. 

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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