What is Blue Monday and how do we work through it? Experts weigh in

No need to worry—Blue Monday doesn't have to feel so heavy

woman on couch in blanket holding a cup of tea
(Image credit: Olga Rolenko/Getty Images)

What is Blue Monday? 

Perhaps the Mondayest Monday to ever Monday, this day feels like seasonal affective disorder at its most vigorous. But before you cross January 16 right out of your 2023 planner, let's backtrack and learn how to flip the script.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, is said to be the most depressing day of the year, according to a study from the UK travel company, Sky Travel. It's considered especially dreary due to a variety of factors, including the weather, the lack of excitement without the holidays and, especially this year, looming economic worries. 

What are ways to fight Blue Monday?

We cannot sit and dwell on the negative, whatever that might be. Experts dish on habits for happiness that will help make this day feel less daunting. 

1. Acknowledge the need for mental health care

Rather than dismiss the blues as a theory or ignore your emotions altogether, take some time to work through whatever you're feeling. 

"When talking about mental health, the first step is to understand that emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing," says Llinos Connolly, clinical services sister at Benenden Health.

2. Be there for someone

Sometimes, a little conversation goes a long way. Check in with those you love and make sure to respect their needs, even if you don't necessarily have an immediate solution.

"Whether you are speaking to your friends, children or parents about their mental wellbeing, always try to ask open questions," Connolly says. 

But listening is equally as important. Remain engaged in the conversation. 

"As we all know, talking about your own mental health is really hard. That’s why it’s important to show you’re truly listening when you check in on others."

3. Try Light Therapy

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a chemical change in the brain likely due to less daylight is responsible for the shift in our emotions. Investing in light therapy could be the key to feeling better. (No, it's not just a TikTok trend!) The National Institute of Mental Health believes starting the day with a light box (10,000 lux) for roughly 30 to 45 minutes has the potential to combat symptoms of SAD.

4. Indulge in self-care practices

From drawing a soothing bath to trying a new mediation practice, self-care day ideas are a perfect way to unwind and get in tune with your body and soul. (Does anyone need a eucalyptus bouquet?)

5. Exercise

Though hitting the gym might not feel terribly exciting at times, researchfrom the University of Kent insists a regular workout routine and a healthy diet of fruits and veggies will lead to satisfaction, due to delayed gratification.

"Findings demonstrate that the ability of individuals to delay gratification and apply self-control plays a major role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on wellbeing," the study states. (Learn more here.) 

6. Buy a few plants

Greenery makes a difference and that snake plant on your bookshelf has the power to help you feel less stressed and enhance your mood. (Yes, really, research says!) With that in mind, we've rounded up the best low-maintenance indoor plants, so make your way over to your local nursery. 

Desk and merchandise for online marketplace for selling clothes

(Image credit: Getty)

8. Seek professional help

If you want to speak to someone in the medical field but don't really know where to begin, we've uncovered the differences between therapy vs. counseling. Have a look to see which one works best for you. 

Blue Monday? We're not intimidated. 

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.