Beat Back the Blues of January with Joy (Here Comes “Blue Monday”)

Smileys Showing Happy Cheerful FacesA British psychologist says this coming Monday will be the saddest day of the year.

I’ve heard it called “Blue Monday”–The third Monday in January.

Do you agree?

Here’s why it’s called Blue Monday:

It’s cold (at least if you’re in Canada!); the hullabaloo and oft-lifting twinkle of Christmas is over; credit card bills are coming in; the days are so short we tarry under a blanket of black; and many New Year’s resolutions have already gone the way of the Dodo bird.

Oh, and it’s Monday!–meaning that most are facing a new work week with no Friday night on the immediate horizon.

This same psychologist, Cliff Arnall, says the happiest day is June 17. (Which also happens to be my daughter’s birthday, go figure.)

But June seems as far away as Mars!

In 1952 renowned doctor, philanthropist, theologian and musician Albert Schweitzer wrote: “The world offers us the disconcerting spectacle of the will for life in conflict with itself… The world is horror amidst magnificence, absurdity amidst the understandable, suffering amidst joy.”

He wasn’t talking about January… but it fits!

So what do we do?

I think we need to beat back the blues of January with joy. Proactively.

Often what’s around us can powerfully set the tone in our mind—weather, the news, circumstances, conversations. So we need to be be intentional about setting our own soundtrack.

The song you sing is the song you hear.

If you’re feeling blue it helps to be proactive. Sing a joyful song. Set your mind on what you want it to be set on. Some of Paul’s great advice in the New Testament joy-book called Philippians is this: “Rejoice!… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things… And the God of peace will be with you.”


Get outside, be active.


Spend time with someone you care about (And if you have to, schedule it.)

Dial down the negative inputs in your life.

Find an opportunity to serve someone else. You’d be amazed at how helping someone else ignites the heart.

Read Philippians. Pray for Joy.

Some people really struggle with sadness, depression and anxiety. It can be a very serious and overwhelming thing. But quite often, the downs we experience aren’t canyons, they’re ruts. And a few proactive stilts of joy can move us onward and upward to where we need to be.

The song you sing is the song you hear.

The final word is with writer Tim Keller: “Even if right now you are in the midst of sorrow, sip the coming joy.”


  1. For me, I find that when I get down in the dumps, I think of the ones who really have something to be sorrowful over, and pray for them or call if I can and visit. Sometimes it helps them as well as myself.


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