The Worst Day of the Year!

Tips for Avoiding the Winter Blues

According to at least one expert, our collective misery index peaks on January 23.

This date was selected based upon a variety of emotional and stress factors. The findings of the study were published in "Health" magazine in 2006 and proclaimed January 23th to be the most depressing day of the year.

According to Dr. Kathleen Hall, the study's author, "People feel as if there is a shadow over them; with low light levels creating Seasonal Affective Disorder, holiday bills hitting the mailbox, and New Year's resolutions already broken, depression is rampant."

Dr. Cliff Arnall at Cardiff University in Wales used the following factors expressed in the formula below to determine that our misery index hit its apex on January 23.

{W (D – d)} x TQ

 M x NA

The equation is broken down into these variables:
W = weather
D = debt
d = monthly salary
 T = time since Christmas
Q = time since failed quit attempt
M = low motivational levels
NA = the need to take action

Essentially Dr. Arnall's formula tells us that Christmas was a month ago, the bills for everything charged are now due, your boss is a cheapskate, your New Year's resolutions has given up the ghost, and the groundhog has not yet seen his shadow, the Super Bowl is still a few weeks away, and you are having leftovers for dinner. Again.

Skeptics have challenged the study's findings and dismiss the whole theory as pseudo-science nonsense designed  to sell books. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Nonetheless, the suggestions of Dr. Kathleen Hall, author of the new book "A Life In Balance",  for improving our mood and temperament on January 23rd, or any other day are worth considering and adopting.

Dr. Hall offers these tips to create happiness and energy:

1. Food: Try new foods that haven't been eaten before. Get the family to choose a cuisine and everyone can cook it together. Try mango salad or black bean lasagna.

2. Color: Add color. Purchase an inexpensive tablecloth with happy bright colors, maybe orange or yellow. Keep bright flowers on the kitchen table. Find some inexpensive bright colored pillows to throw on the couch. Accessorize with a bright scarf or shoes.

3. Have Fun: Schedule one or two nights a week to turn off the television and have game night. Play board games, cards, or watch a funny movie (research shows this will get the endorphins going).

4. Introspection Time: Have each family member choose a word to describe 2005 and what their word is for the coming year, 2006, and explain why he or she chose each word.

5. Time Alone: Each family member takes ten minutes, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (pick any three days of the week) to take a bath, read, paint, or take a nap to help recharge in these draining times.

More Resources:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)