In A Nutshell
Mondays are the worst, aren’t they? Back to school, back to work, the weekend so far away . . . only, it’s a cultural myth that Mondays make us feel the worst about life. According to research, it’s not that Monday is actually worse for our moods than other days, it’s just gained something of a popular reputation. Sadly, that’s not saying Monday isn’t depressing, it’s just saying that all days are pretty equally miserable.
The Whole Bushel
There’s something infinitely depressing about a Monday. It’s the start of the work week for many, the freedom of the weekend is so far away, and the taste of the blissful, never-ending Sunday afternoons are still in our mouths. Check any social media, and it seems like everyone has a case of the Monday blues . . . although, according to research, we’re just as miserable every other day of the week.
It makes sense to be the most miserable on Mondays; one study done in 2011 has even suggested that most people can’t even manage a smile until 11:16 AM. Only, that study was done by Marmite, and in a stroke of advertising genius, they placed the time of the Monday morning blues finally breaking right in the middle of morning tea.
Suicide rates have also been found to be the highest on a Monday; studies that looked at 10 years’ worth of suicide numbers have found that Monday’s average is 12, with the number slowly falling throughout the rest of the week.
But other research has found that it’s simply just another one of our many cultural myths, and we’re really not any happier on any other day of the week.
The London School of Economics suggests Tuesday is the worst day of the week; monitoring the moods of 22,000 people, they found that Tuesday’s position as firmly into the work week and being far, far away from the weekend puts people at their lowest point.
The University of Sydney found that Wednesday was the most depressing day of the week for some people, who cited the overwhelming workload that had been building up, and the idea of weekends being so far away on both sides. Researchers then monitored 350 people, asking them to report their moods throughout the week. It turns out that most people seem to exist on something of an even field of misery, with Monday not being as bad as many say, but Friday’s not as great a mood-lifter as it’s thought, either.
And weekends? Also not as good as advertised. There’s often pressure to do everything that you can’t fit in during the week, which can feel like work that no one’s paying you to do. According to the University of Gothenburg, Sundays are also pretty bad, but not necessary because we’re unhappy about the approaching Monday. Sunday is supposed to be a day of relaxation, a day when we do what we please . . . and that happens less and less in today’s world. By the time we get to Sunday night we’re pretty bummed that we wasted another one.
So what about Blue Monday? Called the most depressing day of the year, the third Monday in January is supposed to be the worst of the worst, thanks to a combination of after-holiday debt, weather, and the amount of time before anything resembling a nice, warm, sunny day. The trouble is, the company that determined this wasn’t a university or other scientific institution, it was a travel company, looking to encourage people to dodge the Blue Monday blues and take a holiday. Researchers have investigated the idea, and they’ve found that there’s absolutely nothing to back it up—and that’s not saying that it’s not bad, but it’s no worse than other days.
So basically, in an attempt to vindicate Monday from its rather villainous reputation, we might make you more consciously aware of the fact you’re miserable all the time. Sorry.
Show Me The Proof
Smithsonian: Stop Complaining About Monday, You’ll be Just as Depressed Tomorrow
The Guardian: Monday is most common day for suicide
The Guardian: Blue Monday: There is no such thing as ‘the most depressing day of the year’
The Telegraph: Wednesdays are most depressing day of the week
The Telegraph: Mondays less miserable than Tuesdays, research finds
The Guardian: This column will change your life: Sad Sundays