As a kid in the ’80s, it was an awesome New Order song on the Memorex mix tape my sister made for me. As a teenager, it was what I danced my first routine to on the high school pom-pon squad. And now as a thirty-something American expat living in London, I’m learning for the first time that, in the UK, it is a particular day of coping with the blues. It is known, of course, as “Blue Monday.”

Why write about this on a Thursday? Because, frankly, I’m confused as to which Monday this month is really Blue Monday. For whatever reason, there are conflicting views out there as to whether it was this past Monday, January 17th, or this coming Monday, January 24th. Some articles say it’s always the third Monday of the month, others say it’s the Monday of the last full week in January. Dunno. Perhaps we must default to science, calculating based on the formula provided in the always credible Wikipedia:

Where W = Weather, D = Debt accumulated, d = debt we are capable of paying off, T = Time since Christmas, Q = time since Quitting our New Year’s resolutions, M = lack of Motivation, and N = to what extent we feel still feel the Need to take action. 😉

Huh. I would try to solve the answer for you, but both my M and N levels are low. Mathematics aren’t happening this morning. Or maybe January 2011 is just that much of a downer that we need two Blue Mondays, in which case today is equidistant enough between them to talk about it.

Either way, as you have probably surmised from the variables listed above, Blue Monday is deemed as such because it’s arguably the most depressing day of the year. The holiday buzz has passed, and we’ve already lost the New Year’s momentum and given up on those glittering, well-intentioned resolutions. To compound the issue, all we are left with is dismal winter weather and debt from all that Christmas shopping and travels. February on the horizon just isn’t enough to look forward to…

Oddly enough (and I emphasize “odd”), the UK government is currently pursuing a new initiative that would evaluate the nation’s, well, happiness. The potential new statistic would be GWB (General Well-Being), and the “Measuring National Well-Being Forum” is already underway to consider factors contributing to the collective public’s quality of life. Don’t believe me? Think it’s another joke about quantifying emotion like the Wikipedia equation above? Well, consult the Office of National Statistics site for a breakdown of some of the variables considered to impact our happiness, and listen to the recent BBC Radio 4 debate entitled, “Moral Maze,” which discusses the morality of imposing a set standard of happiness.

Well, I for one think I was saved in the nick of time by that sunny escape to Morocco last weekend, so my Monday this week was utterly awesome, and I think I can still hold my head high by next Monday even if I go no further than my London apartment to distract myself. Mind over matter, folks. You might already be stressed out researching your London move, but, first of all, London Relocation will be taking care of that to keep a smile on your face…and secondly, identify the factors in your life that make you happy and make a special point to focus on those this week so that no Monday this month or year or decade for that matter has you singin’ the blues.