You may be hearing this social media phenomenon around the water cooler and on the web today, but what does it really mean?
I used to think it was the time of year in which statistically the most suicides happened. I clearly hadn't done my research and just believed the propaganda around the fictitious holiday. I mean, Cineplex was giving away free movies and all sorts of places were handing out free things to lighten the mood on the dreaded Blue Monday.
However, I figured this time around I would actually look into it instead of giving people faulty information and letting you think this is something when really it's not.
Essentially, a tutor named Cliff Arnall from the Center Of Lifelong Learning created a fascinating formula (which varies year to year) including weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Just by reading the very idea of the calculation you can see there likely isn't enough substantial information and numbers to back up many of those factors. The calculation was first conceptualized by a holiday company, SkyTravel, in a 2005 press release. Arnall was directed to create this formula essentially as a marketing tactic to encourage people to take relaxing, tropical vacations. However, he stated in a recent interview it was, "never his intention to make the day sound negative", but rather "to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions".
So there you have it folks, Blue Monday, is in fact just another way to manipulate the consumer. The real question though - did this help or hinder the mental health community?
Because I like to keep things as positive as possible, I'm inclined to say it helped - and is still helping. Although this myth has been debunked, and there is no scientific evidence to prove "the saddest day of the year" we are STILL talking about mental health. People are STILL reading articles about mental health. The conversation is STILL happening. And I think at the end of the day, increasing open communication, awareness, and providing resources are what it's all about. So was this essentially a scam? Sure. And I definitely don't want to give Arnall too much credit here, but did it open another dialogue for mental health? I think so. Major news stations are still reporting on it, whether it's a hoax or not, and providing psychologists take on it all plus a variety of resources. They're also talking more about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is another big step forward.
So although Blue Monday may not carry the weight of what we originally thought, in my eyes, we can still use this as an advantage and step forward in the mental health community. It may not be the most depressing day of the year, but SAD still exists along with many other seasonal and mental health disorders... so LETS YAC ABOUT IT!
1.En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Blue Monday (date). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date) [Accessed 22 Jan. 2019].
2. Flanagan, R. (2019). 'Blue Monday': Is it really the most depressing day?. CTVNews. Retrieved 22 January 2019, from https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/blue-monday-is-it-really-the-most-depressing-day-1.4261906