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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Depressed? You can blame it on Jan. 24

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I knew something was wrong. But I just chalked it off as Monday. Then it hit me. Monday, Jan. 24, by some massive scientific calculation, was the most depressing day of the year. So here I sit, the day after the most depressing day, and I have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Here's how it works. A British scientist devised this complex formula and mathematical equation designed to calculate the most depressing day of the year. He factors in weather, debt, monthly salary, time since Christmas, time since failed attempt at New Year's resolution, low motivation and the need to take action. Stir it all together and you come up with Jan. 24. To sweeten the pot, this year it fell on a Monday.

Don't misunderstand - this intellectual formula is not some cold weather activity. It's really a mathematical model that measures the above factors which combine to make that one special day so darned depressing. Members of the travel community use the calculation to promote trips to sunny destinations. And employers use the calculation to alert them to potential workplace concerns.

It seems that even though winter officially began Dec. 21, it takes about a month for the dark, winter clouds to have a real impact. That darkness combined with cold temperatures, post-holiday blues and the inability to fulfill those New Year's resolutions makes for a depressing time. When you press the magic button, Jan. 24 tops the list of depressing days.

Interestingly, a study found that in Britain - and you could put the USA in that same category - about a third of the population suffers from SAD, seasonal affective disorder or winter depression. And a whopping nine in 10 of us sleep and eat more in the darker months. Just a footnote, for those who live near the equator where the days are longer and the skies brighter year-round, this seasonal disorder is extremely rare. You just have to experience a Southeast Missouri winter to fully appreciate how accurate the study actually is.

As if you really needed a study of this sort, most of us understand just how depressing these dismal days can become. But now we have an actual specific day to celebrate or mourn. I should have had a party.

But unfortunately, I was too depressed to take the time to plan a party. I'll just wait until the days are longer, the skies brighter and the mathematical formula more to my liking.

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