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Blue Monday...How does it feel?

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Published on 20 January 2020

Today is Blue Monday
Today is Blue Monday

“Cold, overweight and skint”.

Sound familiar?

Today is Blue Monday, named due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights, and the arrival of unpaid credit.

Now, one University of Sunderland expert has taken a closer look at the year’s most gloomy 24-hours to help us understand why we ditch jobs, file for divorce, and vow to change for good.

Dr Rebecca Owens is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University and an expert on identity and wellbeing.

She said: “The day comes around after a period when we’ve all been geared up for the community and family focus of Christmas.

“The nostalgia, the warm lights, the cosiness. We spend at least a month focusing on giving to others, celebrating, and spending time with our nearest and dearest. Not to mention the time off from work for many of us.

“We stretch out this nice warm feeling up until New Year...then we are hit with the consequences of our indulgence.”

According to Dr Owens, the return to work, the coldness, the extra Christmas weight from the indulgence and the empty bank account all create a perfect storm of misery which culminates on the third Monday in January.

She said: “It all makes January feel like a very long, hard, month. At this point in the year, many of us don't have something pencilled in to look forward to - not like in the run up to Christmas.

“Summer seems far away, and motivation can be difficult to come by when you are feeling sluggish, tired, and skint.

“The nostalgia of looking back at the nice warm cosy carefree run up to Christmas compared to what we are now faced with - being cold, overweight, skint, and getting back to reality - can lead to us feeling pretty down.”

But, while most people will watch Blue Monday come and go with a smile on their face, for others there is a commercial opportunity.

This year alone, deals are being advertised for a range of ‘uplifting’ products, beauty treatments, and diet plans. So while it might be the gloomiest day of the year, for others it is an opportunity to turn misery into money.

Blue Monday facts

1. The concept of Blue Monday was created for a travel company PR release in 2005 and based on a formula incorporating the weather, unpaid bills, post-Christmas gloom and other factors.

2. Blue Monday was a 1950s song popularised by Fats Domino. New Order’s Blue Monday became the biggest-selling 12-inch single of all time.

3. In 1922 George Gershwin wrote a jazz opera called Blue Monday, later renamed 135th Street.

4. The date is generally reported as falling on the third Monday in January, but also on the second or fourth Monday, or the Monday of the last full week of January.

5. The idea of Blue Monday is something that is pounced upon by charities and health organisations to spread key messages about mental health.

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