It's All Downhill From Here

by DavalosMcCormack on January 22, 2008

If you are reading this, congratulations! It means you have survived Monday, January 21st, the “most depressing day of the year”. The day was given that title by British psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall. He even came up with a formula to prove how depressing the third Monday in January is. Here it is – now pay attention there will be a test on this later.

[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA

As you have probably figured out already the various variables are (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt (of resolutions), (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

Basically it breaks down to the fact that by now the fun and frivolity of Christmas is long gone but the bills for all of it are just arriving. Most of us have already given up on our New Year Resolutions. The weather sucks, summer is months away, our sports teams are useless, global warming is destroying the planet, the economy is in the toilet, and the TV writers are still on strike so all your favorite shows are about to disappear.

Dr. Arnall originally put together the formula for a travel company, to find out when people were most in need of a holiday (apparently we are all most likely to buy a ticket to somewhere fun and tropical when we are cold and miserable). But the good news is you don’t need to fork out more cash to buy your way out of the doldrums.

First, if January 21st is the “most depressing day of the year” then it’s going to get easier after this, right! Well, except perhaps for April 15th, but let’s not go there or we’ll all get really depressed. Second, just because you’ve already slipped up on the resolutions doesn’t mean you have to give up completely. It’s only January, plenty of time to give up smoking, lose weight, go to the gym, learn Swahili – these are long-term changes so don’t let short-term slip-ups get you down.

But if you need some more reasons to be cheerful, here’s a few.

1) Christmas is only 337 days away. Plenty of time to pay off last year’s debt and save for the next

2) If global warming is coming soon – and it is – then South Dakota in winter could soon be a tropical paradise so there’s no need to go anywhere. People from Bali will be flying to Fargo for their holidays.

3) Queen Victoria died after reigning the UK for 63 years. OK, that’s not particularly cheerful but it is interesting. I grew up in the UK. It’s always reigning there.

4) 70 years ago (Jan. 21st, 1938) Thornton Wilder’s play, “Our Town”, was first performed. Think of all the millions of parents who have had to suffer through bad high school performances of it since then. That should cheer you up.

5) Your dog still loves you.

6) Beer still tastes great.

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