A Case of the Mondays

January 24th, 2013 by Andrea Bennett

New research shows that there’s no real reason to feel worse on Monday than on any other weekday.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

A few days ago was Blue Monday – commonly called the worst day of the year – but I felt fine. Sure, I had a nice weekend that came to a close, I was at work instead of, well, not at work, and it was cold outside; but aside from those three minor annoyances, the third Monday in January didn’t feel much different from any other day.

If you dread January Mondays, you might find some comfort in a recent BBC article that asserts that Blue Monday is nothing more than a marketing ploy that companies have found helpful to exploit in press releases. The article points out that “the media keenly discusses why this particular day is so wretched, often accompanied by pictures of people looking unhappy in the rain.” So, after taking a step back, it seems that people probably only dread Blue Monday because they are told to.

Apparently, Blue Monday was actually devised in 2005 by a travel company that claimed that a psychologist had discovered an equation that calculated exactly the most miserable day of the year. To wit: the weather is likely crummy, people are counting up their Christmas debt and reliving holiday letdowns, and people have had a few weeks to falter on their New Year’s resolutions. Clearly, it’s time for a vacation (not surprisingly, given the source of the “holiday,” Blue Monday fits neatly into the post-holiday slow season for vacation destinations).

The Telegraph UK published a few funny examples of travel companies blatantly trying to make you sad – and therefore, take a vacation. Because of this terrible day, said one release, the “workforce is suffering from Vacationitis – a disease affecting workers because they do not take enough vacation!” Another release proposed a cure, including its own “bargain price break, fabulous scenery and indoor comforts.”

If you have fallen victim to marketing-induced depression on Blue Monday, here’s some solace: the BBC reports that research on seasonal mood swings indicate that spring and summer have higher depression rates than winter. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, polling 340,000 people, reported that although many respondents claimed to feel better on Fridays, there was no difference between any other weekdays.

Do you ever start the week with a “case of the Mondays” or is it just another day? Do you notice a significant increase in Monday blues during the winter? Weigh in here, and cheer up: Friday is just around the corner.