KEY POINTS

  • "Blue Monday" falls on the third Monday of January every year
  • The concept was coined by a psychologist in 2004 for a British travel company that wanted to promote their winter deals
  • Exercise, meditation, a new hobby and more can help improve one's mood

The third Monday of January each year has been dubbed "Blue Monday" and is said to be the saddest day on the calendar.

This is believed to be the day when it dawns on everyone that the holidays are over, a whole new year is ahead and all the bills spent during Christmas are catching up. All these, along with loneliness and the realization that one's New Year's resolutions have already failed, apparently contribute to what is now known as the most "depressing" day of the year.

In 2004, Cliff Arnall, a psychologist, came up with the concept as well as an "equation" that explains why this time of the year is the gloomiest for a British travel company that wanted to promote their winter deals.

Several factors that reportedly contribute to low mood are considered in the equation, including the weather in January and the fact that many are likely to be in debt after the holidays. In addition, having less to look forward to apparently leads to generally lower motivation levels.

However, Arnall told The Daily Telegraph in 2013 that he considers the Blue Monday formula as pseudoscience. Several experts, including Stephen Buckley, head of information at mental health charity Mind, perceive the whole day as a way of trivializing depression and have frequently questioned the science behind the equation and the Blue Monday concept, Independent reported.

But the feeling of being in low spirits is definitely real so here are a few ways that may help people cope with sadness and bounce back.

depression
The court heard that very experienced psychiatrists had unanimously agreed on the opinion that the accused suffered delusional disorder at the time of the offences. pixabay

Having something to look forward to can lessen the dragging feeling of having to go back to work for the rest of the year, according to an article on NationalToday.com. Making plans for the future creates a hopeful spirit and enhances social relationships. If the gloomy winter is getting the best of you, consider making plans with friends and loved ones.

Saving more money or spending less can also help get rid of one problem stressing people out.

One can also try learning something new or starting a new hobby. Research by Matthew Zawadzki, a health psychologist at the University of California, Merced, found that engaging in a hobby can reduce stress levels. This has numerous health and psychological benefits, including happiness and longer life.

Margaret Eaton, the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, suggested another way to get over the seasonal melancholy: exercise. Engaging in physical activity can effectively lighten up one's mood as exercise has long been known to release endorphins and give the right neurotransmitters a good boost.

Research conducted by Rutgers University found that half an hour of meditation and exercise, twice a week, can reduce levels of depression by almost 40%. The findings revealed that participants showed improvement after only two months.

Meanwhile, Samaritans, a charity based in the U.K. and Ireland that provides emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide, has turned Blue Monday into Brew Monday to promote virtually checking in with friends and relatives, Sky News reported.

"Let's reach out, let's talk to people, and let's have some meaningful connection and get talking, rather than kind of sitting and feeling sad and feeling alone in our sadness," "Great British Bake Off" finalist and Samaritans volunteer Laura Adlington said of Brew Monday. "We're not alone."

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