Blue Monday: what it is & how to beat the January blues

Don’t let Blue Monday get you down with these 8 mood-boosting tips

Blue Monday, sleep & wellness tips
(Image credit: Annie Spratt / Unsplash)

Today is the day that everyone dreads: Blue Monday. And let’s face it, January is a hard enough month as it is – there’s no money after Christmas, no meat or booze for those doing Veganuary or Dry January, and everyone is trying to eat healthy and blitz themselves in the gym.

It’s hardly surprising that Blue Monday happens in the first month of the year, and if you’re reading this on the 16th January 2023, then you’re currently experiencing Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. In this article, I’ll take you through what Blue Monday is and give you top mood-boosting tips to help you avoid the myth and enjoy the day.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January and is said to be the most depressing day of the year. The defunct UK travel company, Sky Travel came up with the concept of Blue Monday in 2005 and published a press release which claimed to have calculated the date with an equation. The formula is said to be calculated by weather conditions, monthly salary, time since Christmas, time since the failure of resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action.

Blue Monday equation

(Image credit: Holland & Barrett)

Since its inception, Blue Monday has been dubbed ‘pseudoscience’ and a myth by scientists. However, many people have said they experience the effects of Blue Monday with heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness and depression. While researchers have stated this could be signs of seasonal affective disorder (opens in new tab), Blue Monday comes during the month where we’re all trying to get back on track and often restricting ourselves due to overindulging at Christmas.

Whether you believe in Blue Monday or not, January is always a tricky month to conquer, so it’s not surprising if you feel a little gloomy at this time of year.

8 tips to beat Blue Monday

If you’re going through the January blues or feeling the effects of Blue Monday, here are 8 mood-boosting tips to get you through the day

Add light into your morning

When you wake up on Blue Monday, get out of bed and open the curtains to get light into your room. Morning light is important in regulating the circadian rhythm which tells our bodies when to sleep, wake and eat. Sunlight helps your body release serotonin which has an amazing effect on mood and wellbeing. It’ll also make you feel more awake and ready to conquer the day. As the sun rises later during the winter mornings, you can add light into your bedroom with the best wake up lights (opens in new tab) that wake you up naturally alongside the rising sun. If you want to know more about light therapy, take a look at the best SAD lamps (opens in new tab).

Schedule in self-care

For most of us, Monday is a work day so you’re probably going to be in the office or working from home on Blue Monday. Rather than overload yourself, take time at the beginning or end of your day to take care of yourself. If you feel you need a little help or comfort on Blue Monday, schedule in self-care activities that you enjoy, like reading a book, doing a face mask, making a good meal and taking a bath with the best essential oils (opens in new tab).

Woman looking at over the sea with arms wide

(Image credit: Fuu J / Unsplash)

Get outdoors

Just like sunlight, getting outdoors has been found to help mental health problems, according to Mind (opens in new tab). Fresh air and being around nature improves mood, reduces feelings of anxiety and anger, helps you stay active and reduces loneliness. This Blue Monday, go for a walk or run outside to get a hit of light, fresh air and nature.

Exercise

Whether you head to the gym, go for a run or do a few squats in your living room, exercise has an incredible effect on your mood. It releases endorphins, helps you sleep better and is a great way to get out any frustrations or stress. Exercising regularly also keeps you physically and mentally fit and if you’re in need of some inspiration, check out fitness on T3 (opens in new tab) for new workouts and health tips.

Wear something colourful

It’s no secret that colour can be an instant mood booster. By wearing bright colours or an outfit you love, this makes you feel happy, positive and confident within yourself. It’s a great tip if you wake up feeling down or you’re having a bad day, so it’s worth giving it a try on Blue Monday.

Eat hearty meals

Eating nourishing food or planning a meal you enjoy can boost your mood and give you something to look forward to at the end of the day. If you eat the right food, you can also set yourself up for a great night’s sleep and relax and wind down after a long day. For more details, take a look at these 8 foods to eat for good sleep (opens in new tab).

Reach out to family & friends

If you’re feeling down today or any other day, it’s good to have someone to talk to. Reach out to family and friends for a quick catch-up or support and remember to check in on them to see if they’re getting on well, too. January isn’t a particularly sociable month as people are trying to save money after Christmas so when you call your friends or family, plan something fun with them to look forward to.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Acting Wellness Editor & Deals Writer

As T3's resident Shopping Expert and Deals Writer, Beth covers deals, discount codes, how to save money and seasonal holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day, Boxing Day and Easter sales. Alongside her primary focus of deals, Beth is currently Acting Wellness Editor, covering all things sleep, yoga, relaxation and general wellbeing.


Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting DIY craft projects that will probably end in disaster!