A heartbroken Elvis Presley may have sung about a blue Christmas back in 1957, but for many Canadians, the saddest day of the year just might be Blue Monday, which falls on the third Monday of every January. While you might be tempted to think that a new year should be a happy occasion giving everyone a fresh start and a clean slate (the television commercials would certainly have you believe that), for many people, this simply isn’t the case.
What Is Blue Monday?
On Blue Monday, it’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, it’s gloomy outside much of the time, and, of course, it’s a Monday, which is generally regarded as the crummiest day of the week. All of these factors conspire to make this particular Monday the most depressing day of the year. Making matters worse, especially for people struggling with debt, the ghost of Christmas past in the form of last month's credit card bills arrive to haunt us all.
Why Is It Called Blue Monday?
Back in 2005, a now-defunct company named Sky Travel set out to determine what was the saddest day of the year as part of a marketing campaign. They turned to psychologist Cliff Arnall for help. Dr. Arnall devised an equation that took into account weather conditions, debt levels, motivation levels, the time since Christmas, and failure to keep New Year’s resolutions. His calculations indicated the third Monday of January was the perfect storm of sadness (when is Blue Monday in 2020? January 20).
Is Blue Monday Really the Saddest Day of the Year?
In the time since Blue Monday became ingrained in public consciousness, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has debunked it as a myth based on pseudo-science. However, the CMHA also states that Canadians aren’t immune to winter blues—they just might not always be caused by winter. About the time Blue Monday rolls around, credit card bills from the holidays start rolling in too, letting us know it’s time to pay up for all that fun we had and all those gifts we bought a month ago. At Credit Canada, we call this a holiday debt hangover, and it’s very real. In fact, recent studies show that the stress and anxiety of debt are closely linked to depression. So what can we do to battle Blue Monday?
5 Ways to Battle Blue Monday
Don’t let Blue Monday—or any day, for that matter—get the best of you! We know that overwhelming debt can bring you to the depths of despair, but these five tips can offer some debt relief.
Begin BudgetingEven though the money has already been spent, it’s never too late to start budgeting. Our new, online Budget Planner + Expense Tracker can help you see what you’ve got coming in, and what you’ve got going out. By using this free tool, you'll see where you can make some cuts to start paying back that holiday debt.
Practice Frugal LivingIf the idea of this makes you cringe, let’s be clear about one thing: being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap. Being cheap often means sacrificing quality, value, and time for short-term savings, whereas a frugal lifestyle is all about being resourceful, like taking lunch to work, using money-saving apps, and limiting social outings and unnecessary expensive purchases. You can learn more about frugal living and hear what Toronto-based financial expert Barry Choi has to say about it in our recent blog.
Consider Repayment StrategiesGather up your bills and let our free online Debt Calculator do some number crunching for you! It’ll let you know what your best option is for paying down debt, from the avalanche and snowball repayment methods to debt consolidation loans and debt consolidation programs.
Create SMART GoalsWhen financial goals aren’t defined or grounded in reality, they can be difficult to attain and set you up for failure. The concept of SMART goals, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, have been around since the 1980s and are still around today for a reason: they work. You can read more about SMART goals in our blog How To Create Smart Financial Goals.
Plan AheadYou’ve got about 340 days before Christmas comes around again, so start budgeting and planning for it now. Need inspiration? Check out our blog How To Keep Your Holiday Budget In Check.
Resolve Your Debt and Pay Off Credit Card Bills Now. Help Is Only a Click or Call Away!
Debt tends to be the biggest factor that makes people blue or depressed. Chances are you’ve been afraid to look at the bills, and the overwhelming feeling you have is much greater than the situation you are actually in—after all, debt is manageable. If debt is holding you back from enjoying your life, you can resolve your debt.
It’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling 1.800.267.2272 for help. A free conversation with one of our certified Credit Counsellors will put everything into perspective, and show you a path to a debt-free future. You can also fill out our form or send us an email. Once you do, you will immediately start to feel better and everything will start to look a lot brighter, too.
Don’t let Blue Monday win! Instead, turn the “saddest day of the year” into the day you take control of your financial future!