Blue Monday is the name given to the day that, in the UK, is regarded as being the most depressing day of the year. It falls on either the third or fourth Monday of January. The date is calculated by a formula created by Cliff Arnall and, whilst it might be a date when many people do feel under the weather, the formula has been criticised for its lack of mathematical credibility and its relevance to everyone.

Regardless of that, Blue Monday is now used as a way of promoting mental health and wellbeing in the UK and is usually mentioned in the media each year. The focus on depression allows mental health organisations to increase people's awareness and understanding of a health issue which people often do not know a lot about and which is often stigmatised.

The original formula is:

1/8W + (D-d) 3/8 x TQ
M x NA

W is weather, D is debt, d is money due in January pay, T is time since Christmas, Q is the time since a failed quit attempt, M is motivational levels and NA is the need to take action.

All of the factors in the formula do have an impact on people's wellbeing and will be relevant at any time of the year. What isn't mentioned are individual events that add to a person's unhappiness such as illness, death, breakdown of relationships or a disappointment such as a job loss or cancellation of an event that was being looked forward to.

The coldest and wettest day when you have just started smoking again is probably not going to rank quite as highly as losing your job or hearing about the death of a close family member. Also, anyone who hasn't given in to temptation and is still keeping their new year's resolution, has just been given a pay rise and is glad that all the fuss of Christmas is over will be unlikely to be feeling depressed.

So, on an individual basis this day in January may not be the most depressing day of the year but if the factors in the formula alone are used for the definition then it can be classed as the most depressing day of the year for most people.

That doesn't mean that you have to feel depressed. Taking control of events in your life will make a big difference. You can't do anything about the weather but you can make sure that you are as prepared as possible for it and get out in the daylight as much as possible. You can listen to uplifting music, add colour into your life and socialise with friends to keep yourself happy. If you think about how you can save money at Christmas next year that will reduce the amount of debt you will have next year which would lead to more positive feelings. If you have failed in your new year's resolution then don't worry, just start again, learning from the reasons why you didn't succeed the first time and looking for ways of making your success easier this time.

Just because a day is nominated as the most depressing day doesn't mean that it has to be depressing for you.