Prepare yourself for Blue Monday

…the most depressing day of the year

From the Daily Echo – 18th January 2015

THE weather is miserable, your bank account is in distress after the Christmas spending spree and the New Year’s diet and fitness regime have already gone off the rails.

It is no surprise you are feeling down in the dumps. But you are not alone because January 19 is Blue Monday – thought to be the most depressing day of the year.

It was first identified in 2005 by academic Cliff Arnell who looked at a range of factors that make us glum, including debt levels, bad weather, divorce rates and the number of days since the Christmas holidays.

Since then researchers have analysed millions of tweets posted by Brits and found that there was nearly five times the average number of posts on social media site Twitter with negative language on the third Monday of January.

But this year Hampshire residents are bucking the trend and say they don’t feel blue at all.

Many are claiming that they do the simple things in life, such as going for a walk in the countryside, to beat the January blues.

To encourage more people to stay positive, one city restaurant is calling for customers to add their happy thoughts to their wall of positivity – and those who add the best will get a free meal.

Annaliese Hughes from Shrimp and Burger in Bedford Place, Southampton, said: “By introducing our Wall of Positivity we thought it would be a fun way of creating some positive and upbeat feelings and a few smiles. This time of year should be all about looking forward and making plans for the year ahead.”

January is also traditionally the most popular time of year to ask your spouse for a divorce. However, Warner Goodman said fewer couples have come to them this January than in previous years and suggests it could be because the economy is back on the rise.

“People have often put things on hold over Christmas so the start of January tends to be busy as people work on their New Year’s resolutions.

“This year we have been a bit quiet though, it could be because legal aid is no longer available or it might be because the economic situation has improved. If money’s tight people argue more.”

How to banish the blues:

• Exercise – studies have shown that physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. How about go out for a run or try a free fitness class online.

• Write lists or keep a diary – boost motivation by writing lists of things you want to accomplish or arrange to meet old friends.

• Volunteer – whether it’s with a local charity, sports team or helping a friend, this selfless act can improve confidence and self esteem.

• Laugh – stick on a favourite movie or visit a comedy club. Scientists believe levels of stress hormones tend to decrease during bouts of laughter.

• Invite friends over – plan a spontaneous gathering to eat, drink and chat it’s a cheap way to socialise and forget the January blues.

• Wrap up and take a walk – zip that coat up and take a stroll through some of Hampshire’s beauty spots like Victoria County Park or Netley Abbey. A free social walking group meets outside the Flying Aubergine Cafe in East Park Terrace Southampton from 10.30am every Friday.

• Be productive – create a list of realistic targets to tackle washing loads, complete house chores or unclutter the shed. Think about the feeling of achievement at the end of the day.

• Visit an art gallery – indulge in a little art and culture at Southampton Art Gallery, they have a permanent collection of over 3,800 works of art, which span six centuries which is free to look around.

• Try a new recipe – find a challenging recipe to cook for friends and family or use new ingredients to shake up an existing recipe.

• Find a new hobby – pick up a book, go fishing, knit or learn a craft to pass the time.