This annual nadir was discovered by UK psychologist Cliff Arnall, who has written a formula that takes into account despair-causing factors like bad weather, distance from the holidays, and abandoned New Years’ resolutions. Crunch the numbers and what you get is the Monday of the last full week in January, this year being the 21st. It’s the saddest day of the year.
Though it's often been dismissed as pseudoscience, "Interestingly, no one has ever disputed any of the factors that appear in my formula," Arnall told Yahoo! Shine.
All, however, is not lost. We rounded up some ways to combat the Blue Monday blues.
Watch Cute Animal Videos: Funny animal vids like “Cat Sitting Like a Human” and “Pig Saves Baby Goat,” or photos at Catmoji, the newly launched Pinterest for cat fanciers, have been proven to have positive neurocognitive effects.
Eat Salmon: The fish is packed with mood boosting Omega 3s, says nutritionist Mitzi Dulan, co-author of The All-Pro Diet. Also on the menu: a bit of chocolate, which stimulates the release of endorphins and can boost your mood, Dulan says, and plenty of water, because hydration makes us happy.
Give Yourself a D: A dose of Vitamin D—whether in supplement, food (hello, eggs) or sun form—increases serotonin levels in the brain, which affect your mood, notes Dulan.
Work It Out: Exercise, says the Mayo Clinic, helps ease depression by releasing serotonin, cleansing immune system chemicals, boosting self-confidence and basically distracting you like a charm.
See the Light: Light therapy can keep your circadian rhythms--whether you are inherently a late-night person or an early riser--in check through winter. "This can greatly reduce the seasonal burden," says Michael Terman, president of the Center for Environmental Therapeutics in New York. Find out more by taking the center's free, online chronotype questionnaire.
Bring Someone Flowers: "Sometimes there's no better mood lifter than getting out of your own head space and focusing on doing something good for another person," says
One Good Deed author Erin McHugh. "It doesn't need to be big: I find little and constant can be life-changing. Bring a flower. Tell a funny story. Give a compliment. Write a note. It all works." It's a fitting instructive for Martin Luther King Day, as Dr. King once said, "Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others."
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