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January 06, 2014

Science: Today, "Blue Monday," Is the Most Miserable Day of the Year

Oh yeah.

I was thinking about this lately, during the holiday season, and the old saw about the most suicides taking place after the Christmas/New Years holidays.

It really is a sad time of year, isn't it? It's cold as hell. The sun is the sky the fewest hours of the day. (Well, close enough: it's appearing a little more each day now that we've passed the solstice.)

The snow is no longer pretty and magical; instead, it's dirty gray soot-flecked slush and packed ice on the curbs and in the drive way. There's not much to look forward to, except the distant hope of spring.

It's a very empty time, isn't it? It's a time to just get through, to just bull through.

If you're feeling down on Monday, know this -- you're not alone.

Monday, January 6, 2014, is what some psychological researchers call "Blue Monday."


"Blue Monday," which is said to be the most miserable day of the year, was originally calculated to be at the end of the month.

But researchers analyzed tweets over the past few years and found that Monday, January 6, 2014 is the day the most people feel sad and guilty.

I can see that-- right now we're in the beginning of the Big Suck. It gnaws at you as it wears on. But today is the start of it.

So here's my personal plan for beating the Blue Months:

1. Work on self-improvement. It feels good to accomplish goals. Quit smoking (right now I'm in smoke-much-less mode) and start walking again. Start the language lessons up again.

2. Get as much ultraviolet light as I can. Seasonal Affective Disorder -- depression and lethargy, mainly -- is believed to be caused by the lack of ultraviolet sunlight during the winter months. So today I'm going outside to look indirectly towards the sun (glasses off) and see if I can get some light-based therapy going.

Another fix is a Light Box, a gadget that pumps out ultraviolet light that you can put on your desk or your night-stand.

I bought the Philips GoLight BLU a while back but haven't used it in a year. I'm putting it back on my desk to start that treatment again. I will say that it does seem to help. It wakes you up. (Daylight is a natural stimulant; the body reads daylight as Active Time and pumps out alertness hormones in response.) This could be a placebo effect, of course.

Oh, and I need to start taking Vitamin D again. Vitamin D is produced by the skin in reaction to sunlight, and when there's no sun, not much is produced. So back to the pills.

What about you guys? January got you down?

Oh and by the way: the "excessively high temperatures" we're experiencing are already causing widespread public harm, say the Warmites.

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posted by Ace at 05:33 PM

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