Today is Blue Monday. Blue Monday is sometimes referred to as the most depressing day of the year. It’s not clear what the science is on that, however. There are no studies that confirm it as the most depressing day. In fact, its creation has been revealed to be a marketing campaign aimed at driving vacation package sales, including flights and hospitality.
Whether it’s true or not, many can’t deny the way January brings out the blues in people. The holiday season is over, it’s dark and cold outside, many of us have missed our new year's resolutions, and warmer weather seems far away. In contrast to ‘Blue Monday’, the ‘ post-holiday blues’ are a real and well-documented threat to mental health after the holidays.
But why is Blue Monday still a talked-about phenomenon, and what makes it worth paying attention to? What should you really do on Blue Monday to kick the post-holiday blues and make your 2023 the best year yet? If travel and hospitality are your passion, today could be a great opportunity to spend some time thinking about the industry, the occasion itself, and how to put ideas for Blue Monday into action.
Blue Monday Phenomenon
The name “Blue Monday” was reportedly coined by pop psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004, and it falls on the third Monday in January every year. However, its validity has been disputed by others over the years, as Arnall came up with it after a corporate sponsor asked him for a "scientific formula" for the January blues.
A travel airline sponsored the creation of a formula to calculate the most depressing day of the year, and based on the formula, Blue Monday was suggested to be the best time to book a vacation. But blue Monday isn’t really scientifically based — and as a result, it’s been called pseudoscience.
The objective for Blue Monday was always to boost vacation package bookings, not spread awareness of the post-holiday blues. But should you take this opportunity to book a trip, or are there other things you could consider doing to beat the blues? First, let's separate fact from fiction.
Blue Monday January 2023
According to Cliff Arnall’s formula, the third Monday of January in 2023 is today — January 16th, 2023. If you are feeling a bit down today, there could be real, valid reasons that don’t have anything to do with this pseudoscientific formula.
Blue Monday: Fact vs. Fiction
Although the validity of Blue Monday is often disputed – especially because of its origins in driving sales, there is truth to why January, and Mondays in general, can make us feel a little more down. Even though Blue Monday isn’t 100% confirmed to be the most depressing day of the year, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect those at risk in December and January, especially in northern parts of the world like Western Canada.
Another piece of truth to Blue Monday is in the popular dislike for all Mondays. If you have a lowered mood today, it could be a case of “the Mondays.” As we all know, Mondays aren't generally the most popular day of the week for students and working professionals alike.
But did you ever wonder why Mondays are so miserable? It’s not necessarily that we are dreading going back to work or school rather than continuing the fun of the weekend. It’s actually because we often stay up later — and get up later — on the weekends, leading to disrupted sleep cycles.
Remember to keep your sleep schedule stable and generous this time of year so it’s easier to get out of bed in the morning and feel more positive. Whether Blue Monday is truly the most depressing day of the year for you is up to you! A positive mindset and putting energy into something productive are good ways to handle any blues you might be experiencing today.
Here are the top 3 ideas on what you can do for Blue Monday this year (and they don’t all involve spending thousands of dollars on a holiday).
Top 3 Blue Monday Ideas
1. Travel: Sure, You Could Travel…
A natural conclusion the sponsors of the formula seem to have been pushing is to give yourself hope by booking a vacation package. And you could do that.
But is “hope,” or looking forward to travel plans, really the best thing for you on this day? Is taking a spontaneous break from your college studies or career really the best way to address your feelings on Blue Monday? There’s not much information out there to confirm this is the best way to handle your mood.
If you do decide to take this opportunity to book a trip, be sure to do your research. If there are sales on hotel bookings or flights on Blue Monday, it doesn’t mean they are the best deals you can get this year. As you probably know from your own experience, getting deals on flights and accommodations is much more about industry supply and demand than Blue Monday. The best way to handle that issue is to shop around for flights no matter what day of the year it is!
2. Connect: Connect With Others
We shared some of our favourite ways to manage mental health during the holiday season, as well as the post-holiday blues, which tend to kick in after New Year’s Day. Our favourite way to bust the post-holiday blues is simply by connecting with others. Whether it’s setting up coffee with a friend, or doing good things for other people, improved social connection is one of the best ways to combat the blues.
It has been proven that doing kind things for others brings us more happiness than pleasure-seeking activities. Brain activity studies clearly demonstrate that profound happiness comes from giving time or resources to others. We suggest volunteering with a local community organization, buying a coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru or just smiling at a stranger.
3. Career: Consider A Career Change
Career satisfaction impacts your mental health. If your Mondays this January have been a little bluer because you just aren’t excited by your job, why not consider a career change? If all this talk of travel has you excited, you can always pursue a Hospitality Business Management career — no matter the season or the day of the year, if you like to travel and learn about other cultures.
For Blue Monday 2023, take a look at the future of the travel industry and find out how the industry stands to grow over the next few years. 2020’s lost hospitality jobs are returning from lowered levels in these past few years — now that the pandemic’s grip on the entire travel industry has loosened.
If you’ve been wondering how to join the travel and hospitality industry, our Hospitality Business Management Diploma can make all the difference on a job application. And Blue Monday 2023 might be the final reminder you need to join one of the most exciting industries of all.
Take some time today to research the hospitality career path and take our Career Quiz to see if hospitality is the industry where you belong!
How To Deal With Blue Monday, 2023 As A College Student
Whether Blue Monday is fact or fiction, there is truth to why we feel just a little more down in the month of January. But there are different ways to handle the problem.
Instead of booking a vacation package with an airline today, please consider shopping around. Learn about the travel and hospitality industry so you can figure out the best day to book and choose a day that works for you — and your best-laid plans for 2023!
If you are a Sundance College student experiencing winter-pattern SAD symptoms, please reach out to Student Services to learn more about your free access to 24/7 mental health support and resources.