Cue the New Order, you sad sacks — the gloomiest day of the year is upon us.
According to some, a combination of post-holiday come-down, resolution failure, financial reckoning and the long nights of winter conspire to make the third Monday in January the most depressing day of the year.
What is Blue Monday?
The concept of Blue Monday was first introduced by a now-defunct U.K. television channel, Sky Travel, back in 2005. Citing a specific “equation” devised in order to find the exact date, the company leveraged the idea of Blue Monday to promote products to those feeling the cold, dread and dark doldrums of January.
Of course, Mondays are already maligned, with 58% of people declaring it their least favorite day of the week.
Astrologically speaking, Monday belongs to the moody, internally motivated moon and heralds a time to rest and invest before the real work begins — a paradigm that was honored in the past but has been overthrown in favor of productivity.
When is Blue Monday 2024?
This year, Blue Monday falls on January 15, 2024.
Combined with Monday being loathsome, January is routinely ranked as America’s least favorite month, thus Blue Monday is probable — if not expressly provable.
And while the idea of Blue Monday has been dismissed as pseudoscience, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a recognized form of depression that is activated during certain parts of the year — is very real for many.
Symptoms of SAD (the most apropos abbreviation of all time) include low energy, irritability, excessive slumber, carbohydrate cravings, and feeling worthless, helpless, and/or guilty — tough stuff, folks.
Whether your blues are fleeting or persistent, there are ways to fight back.
Read on to learn more about the seasonal strategy for keeping on the sunny side — according to your sun sign.
Ice roll your face
I know the idea of applying cold treatments to an already frigid season is questionable, but you are the sign of extremes and could always benefit from a little chill, Aries.
As you also rule the head and face, a daily dose of cold therapy — courtesy of an ice roller — will give your system a welcome shock, improving circulation, promoting lymphatic drainage and keeping your skin high and tight.
Buy yourself a succulent
As a spring-born sign, the fallow fields of winter can be a real drag for you, Taurus. Bring literal life into your home by buying yourself a houseplant, preferably a sturdy succulent that doesn’t demand more of you than you are prepared to give. A spot of green will serve as a perpetual reminder that spring is on its way.
Read, don’t scroll
As the most curious sign in the zodiac, you need to feed your head, Gemini. But to beat back the baddies, you must be mindful about what kind of content you are consuming. Has anyone ever felt better after spending 4.5 hours on TikTok? No, pal — they haven’t.
As a gift to yourself during the dark hours of winter, put down your phone and pick up a book. Your cortisol will drop, your mind will clear and your levels of objective hotness will spike.
Make yourself the kind of meal meant to be enjoyed in the cold and dark
You are the sign of home and hearth, Cancer — no season delivers comfort food quite like winter, when root vegetables replace berries and stews tell salads to buzz off. Embrace the rich taste of the long night with Julia Child’s beef bourguignon or a hearty mushroom soup; light a candle, pour a robust red and feast. Bonus: Get your groceries delivered to your doorstep.
Seek the sunshine
In the Northern Hemisphere, winter equals fewer hours of daylight, a common bringer of the blues. Ruled as you are by the sun, Leo, you need it the most. Energetically aligned with and energized by the sacred power of the solar, layer up with an SPF and find yourself a pocket of sunshine to sit in, or at the very least throw open the curtains in your dwelling and let the light in when and where you can. If it’s nothing but gray skies where you reside, consider investing in a light therapy lamp.
Dance it out
Dancer, choreographer, and fellow Virgo Agnes de Mille imparts, “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth, and it is yours for the taking.”
As an earth sign ruled by Mercury, you are sometimes more in your head than your body, but dancing is a pure and primordial way for you to claim the power that lives in transcending the former through the latter.
The benefits of dancing include, but are not limited to, “relief of physical tension, anxiety and aggression while decreasing cognitive and kinesthetic confusion.”
Whether you take a class with others or break it down in your kitchen, to the tune of death metal or K-pop, let the music move you toward a good mood.
Add color to your home
As a Venus-ruled sign, you are more aesthetically sensitive than others, Libra. Honor your natural inclination to self-soothe through beauty by investing in bold colors that send a middle finger straight to the drabness of winter. A loud throw pillow, a blood-red tea kettle, a neon vibrator or a vibrant area rug can help you feel better, brighter and more buoyed.
Take a breath break
As a threshold sign that takes nothing lightly and tends to suffer silently, dread may be a familiar feeling for you, Scorpio. Deep breathing techniques can help ease the mind and soothe the body.
Psychologist and performance psychology expert Haley Perlus relays: “Deep breathing exercises can physiologically calm you down by lowering heart rate, releasing muscle tension, and changing skin conductance, which will help lower your sense of fight or flight.”
For a list of beneficial breathing exercises, see here.
Get hyped about a future plan
Fellow Sagittarius Jane Austen writes of “that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself.” This study shows people who make and keep plans, from coffee dates to vacations, are happier than those with wide open spaces ahead of them. Anticipation is its own kind of anti-depressant, so put some joy on the books.
While everyone benefits from physical activity regardless of season, winter fitness offers benefits that can see you through the blues, Capricorn. Sea goats like a guarantee — working out, particularly working out outside, warms the body, bolsters the immune system, and floods you full of the kind of endorphins that help you forget that skies are gray and we’re all going to die.
Phone a friend
Though you rule the eleventh house of community, you can be a bit of a loner, Aquarius. While the sanctity of solitude has its merits, reaching out to a friend for a proper catch-up has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Researchers theorize these interactions increase our sense of belonging, saying that in Interpersonal connections—including quality conversations of any form, can make us feel less alone, which in turn can reduce our stress and loneliness while boosting our sense of optimism.” Bonus; the mood-boosting effects of a conversation are felt immediately, making picking up the phone a fast track to a pick me up,
Make your bed…and make your bed a nest
Winter is the season of worshiping the bed as an altar. With longer nights, we’re pulled to deeper sleep. Prepare a ritual of rest for yourself, Pisces. Begin by making your bed each morning so that it feels like an irresistible invitation to get into it each night. To amplify relaxation and ease the crushing anxiety of being alive, consider adding a weighted blanket to your bedscape and a red light to your nightstand to promote serotonin production.
Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.