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The myth of Blue Monday and how it can help anyway

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Published: 13 January 2021

Monday sign on bed

The start of the new year can be a time for change and excitement as we look forward to the things to come.

But there are a lot of difficult feelings mixed into that, perhaps now more than ever.

The Health and Wellbeing team are here with their advice for combating poor mental health in January.

“You might hear the phrase ‘Blue Monday’ thrown around a lot over the next few days.

It’s a term used to describe the third Monday of January, this year falling on the 18th.

Although said to be the most depressing day of the year, did you know it’s actually a myth?

It started as an idea created by a PR agency aimed at selling holidays during the slower winter months.

But despite the unsure origins of the idea, Blue Monday can be an opportunity, a chance for us to think about our mental health.

The past ten months have been difficult. We’ve all faced negatives impacts on our wellbeing, which means it’s more important now than ever to concentrate on ways of supporting ourselves.

January is a difficult time of the year for many people.

Shorter days and colder weather impact us in the best of times, but with the new lockdown impacting our ability to maintain social connections, the emotional wellbeing of large numbers of people is at risk.

Combating low moods

  • Be realistic and not too hard on yourself – right now the situation is difficult enough without putting undue pressure on ourselves. If all you can manage one day is to get out of bed and do a few small tasks, that’s OK.
  • Get connected – social connections are so important for our mental wellbeing. If you’re struggling, reach out to a friend or family member to speak about how you are feeling.
  • Go outside – being outdoors doesn’t always feel like the most appealing thing to do, especially in the winter. But getting out into nature can be a real boost.
  • Seek help – You are not alone. There are plenty of great services both inside and outside of the University that you can turn to if you want to talk:
    • The Health and Wellbeing Service – We support you with any area of your health and wellbeing throughout the student journey. Appointments can be booked via Compass, email at or phone on 0207 531 7343.
    • TogetherAll – An online community that provides a safe space for people to talk and support each other.
    • Silver Cloud – Free online guided self-help - sign up using your university email address.
    • Samaritans – Free confidential listening support available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Call on 116 123.
    • Your GP – If you're struggling with your mental wellbeing you can speak to your GP who can provide advice and guidance on appropriate help.

Try turning this Blue Monday into a positive and do something to support your wellbeing. Take a nice long walk, a hot bath or simply get cosy on the sofa with a good book.

It’s important we talk about our mental health all year round and try to recognise the signs that we might be struggling. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK.”