News & Media

The Mathematics of Blue Monday

Today has been deemed ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the whole year for countries in the Northern Hemisphere – apparently. Everyone is meant to be feeling down after the Christmas festivities, short of money, fat of tummy, working instead of partying, New Year resolutions already broken, and the weather is still cold and dark. It feels like there is nothing to look forward to – or so the media would have you believe. But is it true and how do ‘they’ know anyway?


How is Blue Monday calculated?

The concept was originally dreamt up by a PR company for Sky Travel holiday company in 2005 but is now a yearly national event (or non-event really!). Believe it or not, Blue Monday is actually calculated using a mathematical formula, based on the following factors: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing New Year resolutions, and low levels of motivation:

[W + (D-d)] x TQ

M x Na

Where W = weather, D = debt, d = monthly salary, T = time since Christmas, Q = time since failing New Year’s resolutions, M = low motivational levels and Na = feeling a need to take action.

However, no units are defined and it has been widely criticised for failing to make mathematical sense. Indeed, some mental health charities think the concept of Blue Monday is dangerously misleading and has no foundation in scientific research.


How to make any Monday less blue

Just because the media says we should be depressed at this time of year, doesn’t mean you have to be. Try increasing the activities you enjoy, especially those involving exercising, listening to music or seeing friends – anything to keep your spirits up at this dark time of year. You could even try taking up a new challenge or planning your future. Just think about what you could achieve by the summer – you might pass all your GCSE’s and go on to study Maths A-level – and then you can devise your own formula for happiness!

And remember, just like Christmas, Blue Monday only comes once a year…phew!