The Most Depressing Day of the Year

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According to a UK firm that tracks employee absenteeism, the most depressing day of this year -- coined Blue Monday -- was January 18, two days ago. It had nothing to do with events in Haiti or special elections in Massachusetts, but the third Monday of January is reputed to be an emotionally toxic combination of freezing weather, debt from holiday shopping, general post-holiday comedown/malaise, and the recession -- which is the only reason that the firm who conducted this research isn't terribly worried about lots of employees missing work, since those of us who still have their jobs either need them too badly to risk not showing up, or need every day of wages they can get. Failing New Year's resolutions may also contribute.

Back in 2006, a health psychologist from the University of Cardiff in Wales devised a mathematical formula which claims to calculate the year's unhappiest day, and it is this:

W + (D-d) x TQ
———————————
M x NA

The variables are (W)eather, (D)ebt, (d) monthly salary, (T)ime since Christmas, time since failure to (Q)uit a bad habit, low (M)otivational levels and (NA), the need to take action.

How you assign numbers to things like "motivational levels" and "the need to take action" is an open question, but it's kind of fun nevertheless -- and I doubt many people would dispute that Mondays in mid-to-late January are more inherently depressing than other days.

So ... how was your Monday?

January 20, 2010 - 2:06am
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