Ah, January. It's like Monday, but worse, and much longer.
It's cold, and it's soggy. December has dropped you off on January's doorstep
with a holiday-induced, emotional hangover, left to fend for yourself. Sheryl
Crow once said, "The first cut is the deepest," and I think she must
have been talking about January, because it's the first month of the year, and
always the most miserable and difficult, pain-of-a month to push through.
Last week, we powered through what has been determined by
psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall as "the most depressing day of the
year." But if you're anything like me, it may have just passed through as
an average, lousy Monday. Still, people all over the country are convinced that
the third Monday of January is destined to be the most dreaded day of the year.
While there isn't much scientific evidence
supporting Blue Monday, Dr. Arnall did create a formula that (sort of) explains
where the theory comes from: [W+(D-d)]xTQ/MxNA
For those of you who see math as some kind of
uninterpretable hieroglyphics, I've got you covered after doing a little
research and finding a breakdown of the equation for dummies. Basically,
Now, this model may seem a little confusing… mostly
because it is. Notice there is no value for D, which is one of the primary
reasons this equation can't exactly be used to validate Blue Monday. But if you
think about it, the components featured above do help explain why so
many people, especially in the United States, are victimized by the January
slump. This slump applies to our area particularly because of our weather, our
culture, and our traditions. Many places in America have harsh winters. Many
Americans go overboard with Christmas glee, and even more of us come up with
impractical New Year's resolutions that we fail to stick with after we're just
a couple weeks in to the New Year. If groggy weather, a Christmas comedown,
debt, no motivation, and failure all fall into this one-month span, what do you
get? The long gloomy month we call January. In this sense, Dr. Arnall's formula
doesn't seem to be too far off.
Like Dr. Arnall, several other psychology experts have
determined that most people who are affected by SAD, or Seasonal Affective
Disorder, have their worst depression spells right before, during, and right
If you're facing a bad case of the winter blues, don't worry—you're not alone,
and there are a few things you can do to help ease your symptoms. According to
WebMD, many psychiatrists and physicians recommend undergoing light treatment
during winter months, since SAD is often due to an individual's lack of
exposure to sunlight. This treatment may sound a little odd, but it has proven
to be very effective. Essentially, the patient uses a 10,000 lux lightbox for
about a half hour every morning in his or her own home. You should make sure to
take advantage of sunny, winter days. Even if it's cold, bundle up, and go
outside for a while for some solar healing.
It's also important to stay active,
both physically and socially. Try seeing a movie with your friends or going to
the gym a few times a week. This will help keep your mind busy and help your
body stay equipped to deal with winter weather. WebMD also recommends that you
avoid overeating by maintaining a diet rich in protein, carbs, and vegetables
in order to avoid gaining extra pounds during your winter slump.
Most importantly, keep your head up; we've already just about made it out alive
of the most depressing period of the season. Now it's time to get out there and
show these long, dreary months who's boss!
The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.