Saw this article this morning, thought I would share it. It may help some and enlighten others:)
The Saddest Days of the Year
Mark your calendars: January 16 may just be the gloomiest day of 2012. But that's not the only time to stock up on tissues.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
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“Sunday morning my head is bad, but it's worth it for the time that I had. But I got to get my rest … ‘Cause Monday’s a mess,” croons R&B legend Fats Domino in his 1957 tune “Blue Monday,” a song about the dreary doldrums of the work week.
And the singer may have been on to something: According to British psychologist Cliff Arnall, Monday is the bleakest day of the week. But what happens when you take a Monday smack-dab in the middle of winter, after the holidays? You may have just stumbled upon the most depressing day of the year.
Arnall has dubbed the third Monday in January “Blue Monday,” based on his theory that factors like the weather, post-holiday debt, and low motivational levels make it the gloomiest date on the calendar. But if you can make it past Blue Monday (which falls on January 16 this year) in one piece, you may want to beware of these other potentially gloomy periods that pop up throughout the year.
The Wearisome Winter Months
Blue Monday is just one day in a long, dark, and dreary season. Estimates vary, but some experts say that about 20 percent of Americans fall victim to winter blues.
Even more severe is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a form of depression that affects less than 5 percent of the U.S. population, typically during December, January, February, and March. This condition is thought to be caused by decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter months (which explains why it’s 10 times more common in Alaska than in sunny Florida).
"SAD is a serious problem for some people, but any type of depression can be made worse by short days, dreary weather, or stressful holidays," says Robert Rowney, DO, a psychiatrist and mood disorder expert and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research at Lutheran Hospital. "The big difference between SAD and major depression is that SAD starts in the fall or winter and ends in the spring. Major depression may get worse in the winter, but it does not end in the spring."
In addition to sadness, anxiety, and social withdrawal, symptoms of SAD may include a lack of energy, a heightened need for sleep, weight gain, and cravings for sweets.
Lonely Valentine’s Day
If there’s one day of the year when many people feel blue, it’s Valentine’s Day — when roses and chocolates flow freely … if you’re in love. In fact, a recent study of more than 2,000 adults — orchestrated by the online dating site TRUEBeginnings — found high levels of psychological distress in singles on Valentine’s Day (and the weeks following). Another large survey from Meet Market Adventures discovered that more than 70 percent of unattached people stay home and wallow on Feb. 14.
To fight back, self-love proponent Christine Arylo, author of Choosing ME Before WE: Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love, has started a Feb. 13 celebration called “Madly In Love With Me Day” to encourage women to feel great about themselves, man or no man.
Troublesome Tax Day
Mark your calendars for mid-April: In a recent survey of more than 350,000 people from the polling agency Gallup, “tax day” topped the list as one of the most stressful days of the year. In fact, the only other nerve-wracking event in 2011 that was deemed more stressful than tax day was April 27 — when the outbreak of tornadoes devastated the southeastern United States, killing more than 300 people.
According to Gallup, about 15 percent of Americans experience extreme stress on this dreaded day on which taxes are due.
Serious Summer SADness
Sad when it’s sunny? For a small group of people, seasonal affective disorder may actually occur during the dog days of summer.
Summer SAD (or reverse seasonal affective disorder) accounts for only about one-tenth of SAD cases, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and it may be related to heat and humidity — some people get better if they visit a cooler climate. Symptoms include feelings of depression, anxiety, decreased appetite, and insomnia.
Dreary Daylight Savings Time
For people who experience season-induced sadness, the condition is closely related to the ticking of their biological internal clock (also called the circadian rhythm). Anything that alters that clock may throw it off enough to cause feelings of depression.
And even though you may be excited about that extra hour of sleep during November, daylight savings time may throw your emotions out of whack. "Daylight savings time may be a trigger for depression because it changes the sleeping and waking pattern and the hours of daylight exposure," says Dr. Rowney.
The Humdrum Holidays (Bah Humbug!)
The most wonderful time of the year? For some, the holidays and post-holidays can actually be the most depressing. Chalk it up to financial stress from holiday gifting and traveling, overindulgence in food (and, especially, alcohol), decreased amount of exercise, and resurfacing of old family tensions, says Rowney.
And once the holiday decorations are packed away, you might feel a huge letdown — and not just because Santa didn’t deliver on your list. "Holiday and post-holiday depression may be linked to changes in your routine and stress," he explains.
However, it’s not just the end-of-the-year holidays that make people blue: Just about any widely observed event can make some feel gloomy, he says. Mother's Day, for instance, can be a difficult day for women who've lost their mother or are struggling to become one. And Thanksgiving, so wrapped in the idea of family togetherness, can be a sad time of year for those who find themselves alone or battling family issues.
How to Keep Your Chin Up During the Gloomiest Days of the Year
The best way to avoid falling into a funk? Be prepared.
To avoid the winter blues or SAD, Rowney suggests getting out and soaking up as much morning sunshine as you can. To avoid the holiday blues — no matter what holiday most affects you — have reasonable expectations and try to spend the day (or days) with supportive friends and loved ones. Try to maintain your normal schedule as much as possible. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, and go easy on the eggnog.
"If you have depression at any time that lasts for more than a few weeks and significantly interferes with your ability to live your life, you need to ask for help," warns Rowney. You don't have to suffer through blue Mondays, Tuesdays — or any other days of the week for the matter.
Last Updated: 01/11/2012rning and thought I would share it. May enlighten some.
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