Sunday, January 23, 2005

It’s the most depressing time of the year…

UK psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, via elaborate mathematical formula, has determined January 24th to be the most depressing day of the year. A specialist in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Arnall figured out that factors such as weather, debt, monthly salary, time since Christmas, low motivational levels, and the “need to take action” all factor into the late January malaise.

The ramifications of this discovery effect everything from peak holiday travel bookings to the treatment of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Arnall found that while days technically get longer after Dec. 21, cyclonic weather systems take hold in January, bringing low, dark clouds to Britain. Meanwhile, the majority of people break their healthy resolutions six to seven days into the new year, and even the hangers-on have fallen off the wagon, torn off the nicotine patches and eaten the fridge empty by the third week. Any residual dregs of holiday cheer and family fun have kicked the bucket by Jan. 24.

"Following the initial thrill of New Year's celebrations and changing over a new leaf, reality starts to sink in," Arnall said. "The realization coincides with the dark clouds rolling in and the obligation to pay off Christmas credit card bills."

Maybe January 24th should be dubbed as a new pseudo-holiday where people take extra lamps to work, get lei-d, throw on Polynesian tunes, and get slap happy on drinks with umbrellas and fruit dangling from the sugar-encrusted rim.

Suggested name of holiday: The Most Depressing Day of the Year Day.

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