Blue Monday formula not always reality

by | Jan 18, 2013 | News

By Baker131313 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Baker131313 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, according to Psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall.

Tatiana Patterson

People may want to start shopping for their favourite comfort treat, as Monday promises to be even more depressing than any other.

Blue Monday is scheduled to occur on Jan. 21, according to a formula invented by psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005. The formula, shown in an article on, breaks the equation into seven different variables: weather, debt, monthly salary, time since Christmas, time since failed quit attempt, low motivational levels and the need to take action.

Websites like try to shed some positivity on an otherwise dull day. The blog-like site is a voluntary initiative by students at Canterbury College.

“We decided to make this day a special day, for people to focus on doing good for each other. Not presents and cards this time, just little acts of kindness,” the site reads. “It just keeps growing.”

However, not everybody is so supportive of Dr. Arnall’s theory.

“I don’t think there’s a big science behind it,” said Jason Powell, Dean of School of Health Sciences at Humber College. “I think certainly this time of year; we have lower hours of sunlight, we’re not outdoors as much, we’re not interacting with as many people as we would in the summer time. That, on the other hand, has got some science behind increased problems with mood and things like that.”

Another study, done by Statistics Canada updated in 2012, shows that having a good circle of friends can lead to better physical and mental health.

The study focused on the impact large social networks have on individuals aged 24 to 65.

“If you have an increased and enhanced social network the more likely you are to have supports to help you get through things,” said Powell. “Where you live and the context of the supports and resources certainly play a key factor in to becoming more down, especially around this time of year.”

A psychology student in her final year at York University, Cindy Pistano, notes the need for social intimacy.

“It is believed that there is a direct correlation between the degree to which a person feels connected to those around them and their psychological well being,” said Pistano. “Lack of social interest, low self esteem and defence mechanisms all lead to self-isolation.”

Pistano also said abstaining from social gatherings can lead to feelings of loneliness and self harm.

Patricia Fernandez, Humber graduate of the Travel and Tourism program, can relate.

The 20-year-old grad said having a small circle of friends has made her social skills much worse.

“I often think of myself as a loner,” said Fernandez. “I feel like I can’t function normally. I’m constantly second guessing myself.”

Fernandez said growing up as an only child may have played a role in her inability to socialize. She notices her need to socialize lessens in the winter months.

“I think it’s blue season,” she said. “Not just a day. People are so much more negative especially because of the weather.”