What is Blue Monday?

Stress depression

Blue Monday falls around the third Monday of January and is often designated as "the most depressing day of the year," but why? Mental health experts have a number of theories about what triggers this worldwide blues day. The most likely scenario is the culmination of factors such as weather changes, holiday debt recovery, a new year of resolutions and just the very suggestion that the day exists.

Blue Monday is not supported from with clinical evidence from a medical standpoint, of course. But while "Blue Monday" may not be clinically supported, there is a very real mental health disorder associated with winter that is — Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s unclear why some people feel moody or unhappy during the cold months, but reduced sunlight might play a role. If you find the blues affect you all winter long, look for ways to get more sun or consider light therapy to deal with it.

If you are in any way concerned about Blue Monday, make this the year you are determined to stay happy through it with these tips!

Recognize the Problem

Let's be real: the suggestion that you ought to feel bad on a particular day, every year, is a farce -- and coming to that conclusion is like opening the closet door and seeing there is no monster inside. Shine some light on your Blue Monday monster and see it for what it is — a myth!

Avoid giving into the idea that any one single day of the year has that much control over you. Give it the hand. Get up and treat the day just like any other. Get out of bed, eat some breakfast, go to work and don’t give it another thought.

Choose That Day to Get Excited About Something

That will mean different things to different people. Hit the day spa or get a mani-pedi, for example. Maybe you’ve been wanting to see a new movie or pick up a bestselling book, so why not do it on that Monday (or any day you expect that you may feel blue) as a treat?

Sit down before Blue Monday hits, and decide to do something special for yourself or with loved ones, and then stick to it. That may even be enough to turn Blue Monday into one of your best days this year.

Give to Others

Spend that day giving of yourself to others who are less fortunate or might just need a little boost. Look into volunteer options in your city, like cuddling preemies in the NICU, or playing cards at the local senior center. Giving always feels good, so try giving your time to someone else who really needs it on Blue Monday.

What Not to Do on Blue Monday

If you are determined to believe in Blue Monday, lay down some rules for yourself on that day. Avoid alcohol and other drugs, binge eating and impulse shopping -- any coping mechanisms that are ultimately harmful. Instead, spend the evening at the gym or with family and friends.