Happy Blue Monday, guys. What’s that, you ask? It’s the first Monday of the new year and technically the most depressing day out of all 365. It’s marked by a lot of self-reflection and decision-making. It also happens to be a popular day for people to start looking for new jobs, contemplate having affairs, or making new life moves. And yes, it’s today.
After spending the preceding holiday season with friends and family, people are often feeling restless, trapped, and frustrated. That, combined with feelings of depression and despair from weather-related Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), make the first Monday of the new year prime time for change. Looking for a new job, or seeking out an extramarital affair, for some, may appear to be a way out of the winter doldrums.
The idea of Blue Monday goes back to 2005 when psychologist Cliff Arnall pinpointed the first Monday of the new year as the most miserable day of the year. He examined weather conditioned, debt, social media, and our general negative feelings toward Mondays to come up with the worst day of the year. And his research is backed up by another recent examination of Twitter behavior: A three-year British study found that the first Monday after New Year’s Day was the most negative day on Twitter by far.
But don’t despair too much: We’ve only got 352 days to get to what’s routinely voted the happiest day of the year—Christmas.
In the meantime, here’s a comprehensive guide that’s packed with tips on how to be happy during the bleak winter months ahead.