Blue Monday: The Saddest Day of the Year

Marcia Sirota
3 min readJan 16, 2023

Monday, January 16th, is known around the world as “Blue Monday.” It’s supposed to be the saddest day of the year.

With the shape of things these days, I’m not surprised if people are feeling more down than ever.

In many ways, our world seems to be going in the wrong direction. We’re becoming increasingly polarized, paranoid and alienated.

The world is in rough shape

Our climate crisis is worse than ever but corporations and governments are choosing to ignore or deny it, preferring the instant gratification of profit over the long-term protection of our planet.

Hackers are crashing hospital and airline systems, causing chaos and suffering. People are being attacked at random on the Toronto subway system. And Covid shows no sign of abating.

The mental health of young people is the worst it’s been in ages. Inflation is driving ordinary people to the food bank in droves. Hospitals are horrendously understaffed and more and more people can’t find a family doctor.

It’s time to bring the light

So, with all of this darkness upon us, how do we face Blue Monday 2023? We bring the light.

More than ever, this is the time to take action to make things better. You don’t have to fix every problem- just pick one thing that you want to work on and then go for it.

It can be as small as visiting an elderly neighbour or helping to shovel their snow. It can be as big as becoming a full-time social activist. Or anything in-between.

So much of what we call “the blues” comes from a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

When we take concrete measures to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us, we feel more empowered and a lot less overwhelmed.

Another way to turn things around is to practice self-love. By this, I don’t mean self-indulgence.

Too often, we over-spend, overeat, drink alcohol to excess or gamble away our savings, believing that these activities will make us feel better. But they won’t. They’ll just cause us other problems.

It’s time for self-love

Self-love is listening to our feelings, tuning into our real needs, and making time for rest, play, and meaningful connections.

It’s letting go of perfectionism and practicing self-forgiveness. It’s silencing the toxic inner critic and practicing radical self-acceptance.

When we combine the practice of self-love with taking positive action to do some good or right some wrong, this is the secret formula for banishing the Blue Mondays.

And we don’t have to restrict these practices to January. We can do them all year round and become happier and healthier, improve our relationships and feel less stressed, while at the same time making the world a better place now and in the future.

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Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series