Feb. 2, 2005 Monday morning 24 January: feel like turning over and ignoring the alarm? An expert from Cardiff University has devised a formula to explain your Monday blues.
Dr Cliff Arnall, part-time tutor at the University’s Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, is an expert in seasonal disorders and has created a formula looking at the numerous factors leading to a gloomy January. The formula shows that 24th January is officially the worst day of the year.
The model is [W + (D-d)] x TQ M x NA
The model is broken down using 6 immediately identifiable factors; weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.
W — Weather
This takes account of the depression in weather systems which affects the UK around January, bringing with it low dark cloud (making the days feel shorter), cold wet and sleet conditions and very little sunlight. After the Christmas break we are forced to go outside particularly in the mornings, increasingly exposing ourselves to the unpleasant weather conditions.
D — Debt
An obvious one. The amount of debt we’ve accumulated over the christmas period and the ability to pay all or most of this debt at our next pay day — the greater the difference between the amount owed and the amount paid off the greater the depression. Also we are stretched by the pressure of January sales and concerned that our next pay day won’t cover the deficit.
T- Time since Christmas
Recharging during the Christmas bank holidays gives us a positive feeling towards work and new plans but this feeling begins to wear off by the third week of January. It could be a good time to make concrete plans to look forward to, like a holiday.
Q — Time since failed quit attempt
Having joined the millions of people who have made New Year’s resolutions to curb their unwanted behaviour, within an average of 6-7 days the majority of people will return to their habits. This will result in a sense of failure which knocks confidence, but this could be reversed if they begin to make changes again.
M — General motivational levels
Following party season, it dawns on us that the fun is over and all that we have postponed for the festivities returns to haunt us. Ritual and domestic duties see the exciting plans and enthusiasm of early January go out the window.
NA — The need to take action
This refers to the human need to look forward to positive things. The realisation that the party is over makes now an ideal time to organise something to look forward to provide a motivating focus, for example saving for a holiday.
The research was commissioned by Sky Travel.
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