January comes around and everyone’s feeling blue. Or are they?

Most of us have heard of blue Monday, but for those who haven’t, it’s the most depressing day of the year, apparently. It falls on the third Monday in January when the weather is bleak and our bank balances are even bleaker.

Naturally we’re all suffering from the holiday come-down and back-to-work blues, but how much truth is there to Blue Monday? Well, the fact is, there’s absolutely no truth. None at all.

Blue Monday is a lie. A day created in 2004 by a holiday company to sell more holidays. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim, which leaves many people dreading a day that is no more unusual than the rest.

While our top tip for Blue Monday is to ignore it completely, the myth gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the depressing statistics around mental health:

  • In 2020 suicide rates for men were at an all-time high over the last 2 decades (ONS, 2020)

  • In 2021, the search term ‘mental health’ reached the highest level ever, globally (World Economic Forum, 2021)

With statistics like that, we'll take any opportunity to talk about mental health.

It’s no secret that everyone’s struggling right now, but there's lots we can do to improve how we feel, which brings us to our second tip for Blue Monday. If you do anything, reach out to those around you.

While a lot of the emphasis around mental health is how you can help yourself, there’s something simple we can all do to help each other and start a conversation.

Ask your family and friends how they’re doing. Time to Change recommend asking twice, 'Many people experience a mental health problem, so if a mate says they're fine, they might not be. A second "how are you?" can make all the difference.'

Whether Blue Monday is significant or not, if you’re struggling with your mental health, there’s lots you can do to get through it. Here’s some top tips from the Mental Health Foundation:

1. Talk to someone: You’ll be surprised how many people will lend an ear if you ask

2. Exercise: Regular movement is proven to boost your mood, as hard as it may be to get started

3. Eat well: Your brain and body need a balanced diet to function and stay healthy

4. Drink responsibly: Drinking may help initially, but will often make us feel worse later; alcohol, after all, is a depressant

5. Be sociable: Humans need contact with others; give someone a call, meet up with friends or drop in on family

6. Ask for help: If there’s something you’re struggling with, your friends or family will likely lend a hand.

Even though Blue Monday isn't real, we could all benefit from a mental health boost. And remember, you’re doing great!