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Is Today the Most Depressing Day of the Year?


"The first day back after winter break..."

As record-cold temperatures sweep across much of America, you might be feeling a little down, sad, glum or grumpy today. But it might not be just the cold temperatures.

depressed Some analysis has labeled Monday, Jan. 6, as the most depressing day of the year, but not everyone buys into this research. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

This Jan. 6 is actually being called, by some, the most depressing day of the year. There are a few reasons why.

The obvious ones:

  1. It's Monday. Not only is it a work day but it's likely the first day back to work or school for many who took off the entire holiday season.
  2. Yes, the holidays are over -- the next holiday for the majority of Americans (Memorial Day) is 142 days away. Cue the grumbles.

Then there are the less obvious reasons. The Daily Mail has chronicled various factors -- weather, divorce rates, etc. -- that might make any day in January, not just the first Monday back to work, more likely to be depressing than other days of the year. Although its statistics are drawn from a British audience, similar sentiments could apply in the U.S. as well.

The U.K. cites January as seeing its highest number of divorce filings, and the U.S. is no different. In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this year, divorce lawyer Laura Wasser confirmed this statistic.

"The first day back after winter break, it's usually January second, third, fourth, is often very busy. And I don't know exactly why that is, but I would imagine it's because a lot of people say 'I just can't do this again. I can't do that Thanksgiving to New Years run one more year with this person,'" she told HuffPost.

Other points that could contribute to a more depressed state of mind could include debt after the holidays and already failing to keep one's New Year's resolutions. Being run down and holiday traveling could have also made people more susceptible to illness, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts February as the top month for flu incidents.

This year's "Blue Monday" news seems to be spurred on by a protein drink sold in the U.K. called Upbeat. Upbeat recently released what it considers its analysis of the "mood of the nation" for 2013.

Upbeat explained that its analysis included evaluating the mood of Twitter conversations over the last year to come up with a "unique score between 0 and 100 to provide a 'happiness index' of the nation's mood."

While Christmas Day seemed to be the happiest day of 2013, based on its measurements for January 2013, the day returning back from the holidays appeared to be the most depressed.

Some would argue there's "no such thing as 'the most depressing day of the year.'" The Guardian's Head Quarters blog blasted Upbeat's research:

While at first it comes across as a re-packaging of earlier guff about Blue Monday for the sake of promoting a product, on closer inspection it appears to be more insidious in nature. We’re all bored of nonsense pseudoscientific equations now. But analyzing Twitter activity is new and different. Upbeat has changed the game, and the press release comes across in a way that suggests that somehow, there is a clear way to quantify how "depressing" a given day is. But it is based on an assumption that has never been tested – that tweets are an accurate reflection of the mental wellbeing of the entire population – so it's impossible to know how meaningful or informative the research actually is.

And because it sounds more believable than a stupid equation, it further promotes the trivialisation of depression. Moaning on Twitter about having to go back to work after the holidays is not depression. Likewise, there doesn’t appear to be a generalised set of factors that will cause widespread depression across the nation at exactly the same time. Depression doesn’t work like that, and to suggest that it’s something minor that everyone goes through from time to time belittles actual clinical depression and makes those who suffer from it acutely aware of how difficult it is to explain to people what they’re going through.

Overall, The Guardian's Head Quarters writer believes "Blue Monday" correlations, in general, are a "load of rubbish" used as a "gimmick" to promote products.

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a collective "most depressing day of the year?" Is today it?

Let us know your thoughts by taking our poll:

Featured image via Shutterstock.



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