YOU have survived Christmas and New Year. Now look out for Blue Monday.
The third Monday in January – that’s the 21st – is allegedly the most depressing day of the year.
This idea was launched a few years ago as a PR scheme to promote a travel company who wanted to boost sales of foreign holidays.
They put forward a load of pseudo scientific gobbledegook, backed by a daft formula, and got a psychologist to put his name to it.
Ever since, Blue Monday is regurgitated but without any reference to the travel company. It has gained a life and mythology of its own.
One thing is certain, this time of the year is depressing. The days are short and dark, the weather lousy, your New Year resolutions have been broken and there is no festive period to look forward to. Plus, all that goodwill you spent during the last festive period is about to come back to haunt you like the ghost of Christmas Past when the credit card bills land on the mat.
I actually think January gets a bad Press. I mean, the depressing months are from November to the end of February. They are all murky and miserable. Who likes going to work and coming home in the dark? But at least there is a hint of better things to come from December 21, which is the shortest day of the year. Thereafter, the days get fractionally longer and before you know it, spring is here. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself.
January is certainly a glum month but it’s hardly fair to lump all the negativity of winter onto one day. If it was as easy as that, the Government could declare January 21 a National Disaster Day and everybody could stay in bed until it was over.
In fact, they could declare several National Disaster Days and we could get rid of all our problems – the European Union, recession and the fiscal cliff many people are desperately trying not to fall off as they pay ever higher power bills and train fares and cope with a spiralling cost of living.
But there is some good news. Students at Canterbury College in Kent have launched Blue Monday Awareness Day. They are determined to turn this glum period on its head by promoting good works and positivity.
On their website (www.bluemonday.org) they say: “Mondays can be miserable. Especially January Mondays. So we’re using one Monday in January as a special day for cheering each other up.
“Whether it’s a cheerful hello to a neighbour you’ve never met or baking a cake for your work mates, organising a sing-song in a shopping centre, or registering as a blood donor, buying flowers for a loved one, joining a charity campaign or visiting someone lonely. Blue Monday is about your ideas. It’s about kindness, and making a difference.”
Which is strong on common sense and lacking any pseudo scientific babble.
Meanwhile, my chum Ian has his own way of beating the January winter blues.
He says: “I always like to have something in my diary. A walk in the Dales, a day at the races. It gives you a horizon to look forward to.”
And what did he do this month? Book his holidays in Mexico.
Which is how Blue Monday started in the first place.