The third Monday in January (that’s today!) is supposedly the most depressing day in the calendar: Blue Monday. While the science behind it is sketchy, and it’s definitely a chance for retailers to flog more products we don’t necessarily need, there’s hardly any point arguing that January doesn’t feel endless and gloomy. But don’t let the mid-month blues get you down: there’s plenty of mood-boosting activities in the capital guaranteed to lift your spirits.
What Is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, taking place on the third Monday of January every year. It takes into account the post-Christmas lull and return to work combined with cold and wet weather patterns. As such, Blue Monday only applies to the northern hemisphere.
Is It A Scam?
First used in a press release by travel company Sky Travel in 2005, the term ‘Blue Monday’ is a marketing technique encouraging Brits to spend money to cheer up. It’s supposedly the day most holidays are booked, but many other companies have used to term to sell more products, whether that’s alcohol, food or clothing. That said, the man who coined the term, Cliff Arnall, has since apologised for invoking these negative connotations with January, claiming he was instead hoping to ‘encourage people, where possible, to take a positive outlook on the time of year as an opportunity for new beginnings and change’, according to The Independent in 2018. It’s worth noting that Arnall’s clarification was part of a campaign with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays to peddle bucket list holiday packages as part of its ‘Screw It, Let’s do it’ campaign.
When Is Blue Monday?
In 2024, Blue Monday is 15 January. In 2025, it’ll be 20 January.
Mood-Boosting Activities To Beat Blue Monday
The cinema is packed with brand new films this Blue Monday, from Poor Things to the Mean Girls musical reboot, rom-com Anyone But You to award-winning The Boy and the Heron, Wonka to Ferrari. Want to watch your pick in new surrounds? Here are the best cinemas in central London, plus our favourite indie joints to support.
Start Planning Your Next Holiday
What better way to distract yourself from the gloom than dreaming up your next big escape? Check out our 2024 guide to sustainable travel trends to find the best places to visit and to travel better this year, from utilising AI to be more ecofriendly to resting your head in a pop-up hotel.
Suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? This seasonal sadness affects one in three Brits, but there are mood-boosting ingredients we can chomp on to alleviate the symptoms. Our favourite is Sebby Holmes’ Jungle Curry, packed with heat, colour and lean protein to regulate our emotions. Find more delicious recipes here.
Fancy a new look? Blue Monday is the perfect time to take the plunge and get the fresh trim you’ve been eyeing up. Which will it be? There are plenty of hair trends doing the rounds, but our favourites right now are the Butterfly for long hair and the Baroque Bob for short, Scandi money pieces and the Kitty Cut.
Blow off the cobwebs, pull on your walking boots and head out into the city for a refreshing walk. Exercise releases endorphins, after all! Check out our guide to the best London walks for ideas.
Tempting though it may be to spend another evening curled up with Netflix, a lively night out can actually work wonders for chasing away low spirits. The benefits of laughter are many and varied, and with London’s comedy scene better than ever, an evening of laughs is guaranteed. Clubs from Soho to Stoke Newington host stand-up and improvisation by established and up-and-coming comedians, so you’re sure to soon find a fast favourite. If you’re in need of recommendations, here are our London favourites.
Book A Spa Break
It’s day spa season, and we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to the best day spas in London to find your ultimate zen.
Switch Off & Try Fika
A Swedish tradition, Fika – which translates to coffee – is all about taking time out of your day to stop and catch up over a hot cup of coffee, exploring how you’re feeling rather than talking about work. As Jonny England, Director of Coffee for Löfbergs, says, ‘Switching off can be difficult, especially when the news can feel overwhelmingly negative at times. Fika provides that time for people to recharge and prioritise spending time with others. Fika has been handed down from generation to generation as Swedes stop to take stock of their feelings and check in on each other. With such customs, it is no surprise to see the Scandinavian country perform so well in happiness surveys.’
And If All Else Fails…
Retail therapy can always be counted on to boost morale, but go sustainable in 2024 and scour second hand stores and sites such as Depop and Vinted to get your retail fill. If you’re stuck, check out our guide to London’s best vintage shops and the best online vintage stores for inspo.