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Blue Monday: How to cope with sadness

PORTADAS WEB_blue monday
15 Jan 2024
2 Min
Health tips
  • The third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday, or “the saddest day of the year.” But where does this term come from, and why does it happen on this specific date?


In 2005, Professor Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University designated a supposed formula to determine the saddest day of the year. The results of his research led to an equation suggesting that on this day, people experience deep discouragement and sadness due to pressure from Christmas debts, not having been paid in January yet, the cold weather, demotivation when faced with the difficulty of keeping New Year’s resolutions, and the guilt from excesses in food and drink during Christmas, among other factors.

The scientific community dismissed this theory and formula as “pseudoscience,” considering it incompatible with the scientific method. However, the term has become popular in recent years for sending motivational messages and, above all, for raising awareness and discussing sadness.

What is sadness?

Sadness is a complex and natural emotion that is part of our lives and our emotional being. It is experienced as a feeling of emotional pain, melancholy, sorrow, or discouragement.

It is generally a reaction to an adverse situation that overwhelms us or to a loss, and it should not concern us when it appears in specific situations. However, at times, it can also arise without an apparent reason.

How does sadness manifest?

Sadness can manifest in various ways, depending on individuals and situations. In general, it can cause the following effects:

  • Crying
  • Apathy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Sleep problems
  • Chest tightness
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Lack of energy
  • Negative-focused thoughts
  • Social isolation


How to cope with sadness?

While sadness, in certain cases, can have adaptive functions such as facilitating reflection, seeking social support, and problem-solving, it is also essential to balance the expression of sadness with healthy coping strategies to overcome it. Here are some suggestions:

  • Accept the emotion: To manage sadness, it is crucial to identify its presence and accept it, as it is not a sign of weakness; we must allow ourselves to be sad.
  • Consider the cause of sadness: Instead of focusing on the feeling, it is important to understand the reason or the problem causing your sadness, as it will help you find a solution and put it into action.
  • Seek support from those around you: Surround yourself with loved ones (family, friends…) and interact and talk openly with them; their emotional support helps us feel understood and supported.
  • Try to maintain your daily activities: Continue with your daily routine, social relationships, work, and leisure.
  • Engage in a pleasant activity: Pay attention to the positive aspects of your surroundings and indulge in one of your hobbies.
  • Meditate or practice relaxation exercises: It will help redirect your attention, avoiding “ruminating” on negative thoughts.
  • Exercise: Physical activity provides positive reinforcement and increases the level of endorphins that influence mood.


It is important to note that feeling sadness is a normal and natural part of the human experience and can be temporary, occurring on the third Monday of January or any day of the year. However, if it persists for an extended period or significantly interferes with the quality of life, becoming an obstacle, it is advisable to seek professional support.

At CreuBlanca’s Psychology Unit, we have a large multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide personalized care and help you identify and change thought and behavior patterns that hinder your well-being. Schedule an appointment today.


Blue Monday