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Get Ready, Get Set, Get Depressed!

Yes, folks, it's time for another round of You Be The Editor, and in today's installment, we present another delight plucked from the work of the PR industry. Washington Post editors inexplicably chose to spare you from this incredible news, but the big blog trusts in your judgment and hereby presents one heck of a downer of a story, knowing that you will be able to handle the truth and make up your own minds about how this story should have been presented in the paper.

You might think that today is the first day of the rest of your life, or that today is just like any other day, or that today's gotta be better than yesterday. But now, research--actual, real research by a real researcher -- reveals that January 24th-- today!--is the most depressing day of the year.

Savvy readers will note in the press release that it nowhere says exactly who did this research. It merely cites a report in Health magazine.

But here at the Post, we are professional journalists and we do not take a news release's word for stuff. So here's your source for the devastating news about January 24th, an actual researcher who is a part-time tutor at Cardiff University.

And now, the release itself, which is thoughtfully accompanied by this note:

"Any editorial comment or mention that you may give this press
release would be greatly appreciated."
- - -


Dateline: January 17, 2006 ... New York, NY
Contact Name: Lori Ames, Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc.
Contact Phone: 212-620-4080 x12

Dr. Kathleen Hall, Founder and President of The Stress Institute, and
author of "A Life In Balance", is available to help readers avoid the
January 24th blues.

NEW YORK, NY - January 17, 2006 - Using a variety of emotional and
stress factors, recent research published in "Health" magazine
proclaims January 24th to be the most depressing day of the year.
People feel as if there is a shadow over them; with low light levels
creating Seasonal Affective Disorder, holiday bills hitting the
mailbox, and New Year's resolutions already broken, depression is

While post holiday blues are common, stress expert Dr. Kathleen Hall,
author of the new book "A Life In Balance", says there are many steps
people can take to create happiness in their dreary lives during the
darkest and coldest days of the year.

"People experienced sensory overload during the holidays: the lights,
the smells of pine and peppermint, sounds of music, the aromas, sight
and taste of foods, and the touch and connection with others. By
January, they are now experiencing a flat, hollow, sad feeling," says

Dr. Hall offers these tips to create happiness and energy:

1. Food: Try new foods that haven't been eaten before. Get
the family to choose a cuisine and everyone can cook it together.
Try mango salad or black bean lasagna.

2. Color: Add color. Purchase an inexpensive tablecloth with
happy bright colors, maybe orange or yellow. Keep bright
flowers on the kitchen table. Find some inexpensive bright
colored pillows to throw on the couch. Accessorize with a
bright scarf or shoes.

3. Have Fun: Schedule one or two nights a week to turn off
the television and have game night. Play board games, cards,
or watch a funny movie (research shows this will get the
endorphins going).

4. Introspection Time: Have each family member choose a word
to describe 2005 and what their word is for the coming year,
2006, and explain why he or she chose each word.

5. Time Alone: Each family member takes ten minutes, Monday,
Wednesday and Friday (pick any three days of the week) to take
a bath, read, paint, or take a nap to help recharge in these
draining times.

Are we depressed yet?

By Marc Fisher |  January 24, 2006; 6:48 AM ET
Previous: Achenblog Meets Raw Fisher--On the Radio | Next: The E-mail Stylings of Jack Abramoff


Please email us to report offensive comments.

If there's anything to this, then I really am depressed -- today's my birthday!

Posted by: Capsfan6 | January 24, 2006 9:06 AM

I thought most news reports said the most depressing day was yesterday ... I know Ch. 9 reported such last night, as did other newspapers. .... check it again Mr. Fischer!

Posted by: yo | January 24, 2006 9:08 AM

Well I was, but thanks to the blog, I now see that I'm merely a helpless victim of the calendar and the wrong color tableclothes (mine are blue--what was I thinking). A stop at Linens n' things, and all will be right with the world.

Posted by: lom | January 24, 2006 9:08 AM

Capsfan, I feel your pain... except my birthday was yesterday. I could very well be one day older than you. That's so depressing.

Posted by: anonymous5 | January 24, 2006 9:14 AM

The question that you should ask is whether Health magazine is a peer reviewed scientific journal. If not, the research methods and conclusions have not been scrutinized by others in the field, and Health can print whatever whacky theory it likes.

If it is peer reviewed, than it should also have references to other works that can be checked. All this is completely the opposite of news reporting which most of the time won't even print its sources. We are glad science doesn't operate that way!

Posted by: Bealeton Tom | January 24, 2006 9:30 AM

Trying to feed my family black bean lasagna and mango salad would not improve anyone's mood.

Posted by: Tenleytown | January 24, 2006 9:42 AM

Nice language, fdallas. And you French-kiss your mother with that mouth.

The most depressing part of this article was imagining eating a "mango salad or black bean lasagna". Eating disgusting foods is supposed to help depression? I'd rather be depressed and eat some real food, thank you.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | January 24, 2006 9:42 AM

Well, it seems I can't get anything right anymore. I was feeling rather happy today. I can't even be depressed correctly. Geez!

Posted by: Bubbles | January 24, 2006 9:58 AM

Is there any relationship between this release and the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee will approve Alito's today?

Posted by: DC | January 24, 2006 10:06 AM

I thought Nov 2 2000 was the most depressing followed by Nov 2 2004.

So, we fine out that the White House was given a 41 page assessment (48 hours before) of what pretty much what was going to happen with Katrina, and they did nothing. Does everybody feel safe out there? YEEHAW

Posted by: DC | January 24, 2006 11:15 AM

Posted by: DC | January 24, 2006 11:17 AM

I am a person that experiences SAD (seasonally affected disorder). I strongly disagree with this "expert"'s opinion. Any day in February is more depressing than January 24 (or any other day in January) because the lack of sunlight is an accumulative thing, making February a very difficult month to get through. Thankfully, it is the shortest month!

Posted by: Historian | January 25, 2006 10:51 AM

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