Shedding light on the darkness of Blue Monday

University of Sunderland

Monday 17th January 2022. It’s the most depressing day of the year – apparently. But why? What is it about the third Monday of January – particularly in a COVID-era - that seems to make us feel worse than any other time?

Dr Rebecca Owens is a psychology expert from the University of Sunderland. Here, she sheds some light on the darkness of Blue Monday.

“Our feelings and emotions are all linked to our circadian rhythms – our internal body clocks.

“We have a roughly 24-hour cycle which is affected by external stimuli. For example, in the ancestral environment, we would have slept longer during the winter than the summer, to coincide with the change in natural light.

“Before we had electricity, we would have had shorter working days, we probably napped more, we probably had a more sustainable work-life balance.

“For many of us working at home during the pandemic messes up our circadian rhythms more than usual. It makes it harder for us to differentiate days because we no longer have specific events on certain days, or our daily routine is now different.

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