Feeling Blue? Today Is The Most Depressing Day of the Year


I publish a variation of this article every year on January 24 because it seems to make people feel better.

The Axis of Evil

According to Dr. Cliff Arnalls, a British psychologist with Cardiff University, a number of factors coincide to make January 24th the most depressing day of the year:

  • It’s dark. Not as dark as December 21st, the shortest day of the year, but dark enough to make our heads and bodies crave sunlight.
  • Christmas bills come due around this time, and – especially in this economy – that’s a harsh blow.
  • The minority of individuals who have kept their New Year’s resolutions begin to falter.

This axis of evil makes January 24th score lowest on the national mood barometer. In a twisted sort of way, that means I will feel good on January 24. Because I’m SUPPOSED to feel bad, which will create less pressure for me to feel happy, like say on the first warm spring day.

January 24 Depression Busters

I don’t expect any activity to entirely protect me from the blahs of January 24, but here’s what I’m doing today and this week:

  1. Going to therapy
  2. Calling friends
  3. Connecting with folks on Facebook
  4. Swimming
  5. Reading inspirational books
  6. Listening to good music
  7. Eating dark chocolate
  8. Taking breaks
  9. Praying
  10. Slashing my to-do list in half.

Dance in the Darkness

I think the best advice for enduring January 24, and living with depression, in general, comes from Vivian Green. She said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

I’ll add darkness to the rain.

There’s also peace in knowing IT DOES PASS. THE SUN WILL SOON SHINE AGAIN.In fact, every day going forward we get to enjoy more sunlight.

That’s my January 24 advice: Make your own list of depression busters, know the blahs are not permanent, and learn to dance in the darkness.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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7 Responses
    1. Jeannie

      I actually have been feeling extra bad this whole week….my sons birthday is today, so regardless have to fake it anyway.. but typically the 3rd week in January till April is touch and go for me. Your list is helpful and i try consistently to search for the right keys to alleviating this winter depression. Thanks therese?

  1. Eve

    Oh, I have been sick with a cold this week and I got a sudden turn for the worse today – now that explains why. Hoping for better days ahead of us, both mentally and physically.

  2. Sammi

    It was super sunny and hot today but oddly we all have been feeling unhappy for 2 days. It’s strange how many of us are feeling this way.

    It’s happening everywhere regardless of weather.

  3. Do you have this special day in the USA?

    It’s a multifaceted roll-out Bell Canada the encorages people to text, phone, ext. And the corporation donates a sum to mental health support. This is a way for those who want to help, but not sure how it is a dip your toe in. The day has an integrated set of programmes dealing with many and diverse ways that Depression and Anxiety present. Well known figures from sports, the arts come to tell their stories. Also groups discuss how to help and how progress is being made. It is eclectic and challenging, and throughout it strives to lessen the stigma of mental illness–what it is and what it is not.
    It started smaller but it has grown. CTV, one of our main Canadian networks, gives over its programming for the whole day, indeed, it has been running clip throughout the week.The stories are moving and of enough variety all gain gain something. Well just.Y.I. if you did not know….

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