The 'Blue Monday' depression peak isn't real, but seasonal blues are. Here's what to do

As if we needed any more reason to ruminate over pandemic life’s daily plights, today (January 16) is Blue Monday — the third Monday of January, which is rumored to be the most

depressing day of the year. But is it? Research hasn’t proved that there is any one day more depressing than all the others, but it’s actually a PR stunt that has

unfortunately cemented itself into modern culture. Every January now, blogs share their tips for how people can save themselves from the gloom, companies jump at the chance to

promote their feel-good products and services, and social media follow suit. Origin of a health myth Blue Monday began with a news release. In 2005, the now-defunct

UK TV channel Sky Travel sent journalists an excited promotional announcement that, with the help of a psychologist, it had calculated the most miserable day of the year.

The team had apparently worked it out with a complex formula developed by UK-based psychologist Cliff Arnall. It considered factors such as the weather to devise people’s

lowest point. Blue Monday originated from a PR stunt, but seasonal affective disorder is a real affliction that affects around 10 million Americans. - Shutterstock

The formula was meant to analyze when people booked holidays, assuming that people were most likely to buy a ticket to paradise when they were feeling down. Arnall was asked to

come up with the best day to book a holiday trip, so he thought of reasons why people might want to take a holiday — and thus, the gloomiest day of the year was born.