The impact of the Coronavirus on our lives can not be understated. In fact, according to one large study, cases of depression in the U.S. have TRIPLED during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the outbreak, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has now risen to an alarming 27.8%.

When you factor in the stress of the pandemic, working from home, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the political unrest in our country, today serves as a day for business owners and managers to focus on their employees mental health.

Here's some background about "Blue Monday", a British psychologist named Dr. Cliff Arnall came up with the concept in 2005. He figured it out using a formula that factors in the weather, leftover debt from Christmas, time since Christmas, failing New Year's resolutions, low motivation, and lack of decisive action.

Arnall says it's because the third Monday in January is the perfect storm of peak terribleness...

1. The weather - We have that covered here in Eastern Iowa...on the average, it's pretty much cloudy and 28 degrees every day (with colder temps in the forecast, highs are forecasted in the upper teens for the end of this week). When you factor in a general lack of sunshine and long, cold dark nights...(why do we live in Iowa again? lol)

2. Enough time has passed since Christmas that you've lost the good feelings...the magic is over, and now all you have left is the debt.

3. Your New Year's resolutions have already failed. Oh well, there's always next year.

4. We're sick of work again after the holidays, and your motivation has hit rock bottom. fact, oday the time your employees are most likely to quit or, at the very least, feel incredibly down

5. Finally, you're realizing, you're now facing down another entire year of work ahead of you, without summer or any vacations in sight. Cheer up, the countdown to Spring in on, right?

Anyway, try to put a smile on...and do something you like to do today. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hopefully you had a chance to volunteer. Helping out those in need in your community is always a great "pick me up". After you're done doing something for others, do something for yourself. You could also take a walk (inside, or out if you're adventurous), work-out, watch TV/movie, make your favorite food, or just have a beer or some wine and relax...anything to keep your sanity during these cold winter months.

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