Monday the 15th of January, also known as Blue Monday, is believed to be the saddest day of the year in the UK as the Christmas memories start to fade, the weather outside becomes dreadful and New Year’s resolutions are all forgotten.
It is a day when we are supposedly excused for feeling down and are given licence to cheer ourselves up with retail therapy, or at least that’s what several big retailers are banking on.
Retailers have been using this day to cash in on depressed shoppers since 2014. Last year shoppers could take advantage of deals such as: £5 off Just Eat, free dessert at Zizzi’s, £1 coffee at Paul’s Bakery, £10 off Jamie’s Italian or Superdrug’s up to 65% sale.
This year, retailers are again offering freebies and generous discounts to lure customers into their shops with offers including: £1 coffee at Paul’s Bakery, 100 free tacos at Cantina Laredo, Bunga Bunga Battersea £1 pizza when you order any item off the menu, Mac & Wild Titchfield Street buy one get one free, Bird of Smithfield £18 main, 20% look fantastic, side and a glass of wine, free £15 off Just Eat and free blue plate per person in YO! Sushi.
In Scotland, Glasgow shopping centre is giving out vouchers for a variety of freebies throughout the morning, from tea or coffee to a £10 gift card.
Blue Monday is not a fixed date however; it is calculated using a series of factors in mathematical formula and can fall on the second, third or even fourth Monday of the year. It was originally conceived by Sky Travel in 2005 for a marketing campaign used to sell travel packages, but has now become an annual event.
Back in 2005 Dr Cliff Arnall, a psychologist at Cardiff University released a press release, which stated that January 18th was the most depressing day of the year.
The Formula used by Dr Arnall to calculate the date of Blue Monday is:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ M x NA
The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.
The formula has been debunked by scientists and many people believe this holiday is nothing more than a promotional sting.
Charity ‘Mind’ is against the PR induced holiday claiming it has no foundation in scientific research and says that Blue Monday is “dangerously misleading”.
A statement on their website says that: “Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date.”
“Implying that they are perpetuates the myth that depression is just ‘feeling a bit down’, something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.”
The Samaritans also are against the idea of Blue Monday and have suggested changing it to Brew Monday instead, encouraging people to have a “cuppa and a chat”.
The charity said: “It might help your mood to bear in mind that there is no science to back up ‘Blue Monday’ and that the idea was invented by a British travel company to encourage people to book holidays.
“This year, we’re saying ignore the hype and take a little time out by having a cuppa and a chat with anyone you know who may be going through a tough time – showing you care and listening could save a life.”