Are You Feeling All "Blue Monday"?

Blue Monday in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Is Blue Monday Really the Worst Day of the Year?

“Blue Monday” is a term that refers to the third Monday in January, assumed by some to be “the most depressing day of the year”.

Articles all over the internet say things like, “scientists have determined…” The truth is that this idea was first postulated in 2005 by Dr. Cliff Arnall of the University of Cardiff. He created this random equation in order to help a travel company analyze holiday trends and when people book vacations:

((Weather + (Debt – Monthly salary) x (Time since Christmas, to the power of “Time since failing New Years Resolutions”) divided by (Low Motivational levels x The Feeling of a need to take Action)

In case you bothered to even try to understand what it means, you will notice that there are no units of measurement specified (only the more obvious of many inconsistencies!) In other words, it’s nonsense!

Coffee in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

That being said, isn’t there something to the fact that Mondays are more depressing, and the time after the holidays is a let-down, and by the third week in January you’ve generally 1. Gotten your credit card bill for your holiday spending, and 2. Realized how unrealistic your New Year’s Resolutions were…

The days are shorter, darker, and colder. You may be one of those people who has to both go to and come home from work in the dark. Where is the sun??? If you live in Los Angeles like me, where we really care about the weather, it can be easy to let all the rain we’re having get you down.

The truth is, though, that it is not January, but rather the holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s that is actually the time we see the most evidence of depression. I can certainly say that it is a challenging time for the clients in my practice, not to mention my own friends and family. Everyone has high expectations (or wishes) and many people are more stressed that time of year than any other.

January 2 generally brings a sigh of relief as we start to get back to our “normal” lives. In my house it generally takes almost until the third Monday in January just to get in the groove of the new year. We are recovering from holiday visitors—cleaning up, washing and putting away all the extra bedding and extra dishes, taking down the tree and the lights on the house. We are recovering from the celebrating—giving up sugar and alcohol in fits and starts until we finally feel like our bodies are happy again. And we are slowly feeling our way into the new year—asking ourselves what we want this year to look like and where should we begin with the resolutions.

Okay, I admit it. I’ve written 3 blogs about New Year’s Resolutions, but I don’t really make my own plans for the year until mid-January. I’ve learned not to beat myself up about this. Things take time, that’s all there is to it.

Blue Skies in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

So by the third week in January, I’m starting to feel pretty good. I’ve been thinking about my goals and formulating plans. I’m excited about the year ahead. And it’s Monday! Mondays have been shown to be a good time psychologically to make a fresh start. And this Monday is a holiday! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Besides—I love blue!!! There’s turquoise and cornflower and cobalt and aquamarine and many other wonderful shades of blue. The walls in my house are blue! Half of my closet is blue! On my favorite days, half of the world is blue sky. So there.

Blue Monday can be whatever you want it to be. (Bogus travel industry formula aside!) Make Blue Monday a re-start to the year. Take a do-over on your favorite New Year’s Resolution.

Let’s use Blue Monday as a gift of a second beginning.

Happy in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

And while we’re at it, why not put this date on your calendar for 2020—use the first 3 weeks of the year to re-group, dream, and plan, then begin in earnest in the third week of the month. You can get some great tips on how to make New Year’s Resolutions that stick here and here. Don’t sweat it over the holidays next year, you’ll have 2-3 weeks in January to figure out your plan.

So I say to you, for this coming Blue Monday,


Would you like some extra help planning and reaching your goals this year?

I offer values-based coaching online as well as in my office in Los Angeles, and I offer therapy for anxiety and overwhelm anywhere in California.

Give me a call at 323-999-1537 or send me an email at and sign up for your free 20-minute phone or in-office consultation, where we will have a chat about your specific situation and how therapy could help. I want you to have a terrific 2019!