If the doomsayers are to be given credence, the third Monday in January is the day we are supposed to be at our lowest ebb, most likely to phone in sick and most likely to feel depressed. This media promulgated day of gloom is colloquially known as “Blue Monday” and this year it falls today, 16th January 2012.
A combination of December over-indulgences, the nightmare of the economic downturn and there being no bank holidays until April, culminates in today feeling a bit glum. The boozy haze of Christmas has faded, the looming leftover Christmas chocolates fill you with pangs of guilt and you’re already reprimanding yourself for breaking all your flimsy new year resolutions. And so many of us (me included) are engaging with “White Month” – the preposterous idea of actually giving up alcohol for 31 days, at the time when we arguably need it most!
Lest ye all run out and drown yourselves in the nearest bottle of gin, I thought a bit of positive reframing was necessary. We can collectively tackle the blues and make this a day worth savouring. Here’s some ideas:
1. Give up giving up! Bin those resolutions and replace them with doing those things you love, maybe with a tad more restraint. Everything in moderation etc etc. My 2012 resolution was to “do less” which thus far has failed spectacularly, but at least trying has made me realise that I am in fact, physiologically incapable of being idle. I hereby ceremoniously throw in the towel on that one. It wouldn’t make for good blogging anyway.
2. Perambulate! Stretch those legs ‘n’ lungs and get out there for a good old-fashioned walk. If the BBC weather is correct, today you can embrace the best weather ever – bright, breezy and bracing. Get a stride on and feel yourself glow. If you need more of a purpose to your walk – join in a walking tour of modern cultural highlights: http://www.creativetourist.com/city-guides/walk-manchester
3. Eat lots of ace things on the cheap! January is the worst time to limit your indulgences, when cities are littered with 50% off deals. The infamous Living Ventures January sale means you can finally taste that rib eye at Grill on the Alley, or gorge at sister venues like the Alchemist or Peppermint Bay.
4. Sign up for some life improvement! Yoga in the city? www.theyogarooms.co.uk/in-the-city/index.php Spanish classes? http://manchester.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm I’m not advocating that you do anything so strenuous today, just get it booked and you’ll feel temporarily smug.
5. Plot your escape! Your finances might still be sulking from the December hammering, but planning a getaway is the ultimate mood enhancer. Take a look on skyscanner: www.skyscanner.net and search for “UK airports” to “Everywhere” – then pick somewhere you’ve never been before and get researching!
6. Start your Dickens discovery! This year is the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth. What better time than to tackle those tomes which you know you shouldn’t shuffle off the mortal coil without having read. Start today.
7. Help the homeless! The Big Issue re-launches today with new snazzy contents and guest columnists. Vendors buy a copy for £1 and sell it to the public for £2. They’re working, not begging and you will be left smiling.
8. Star-gaze! Clear skies plus Professor Brian Cox gently coaxing you to look up – what better distraction from the world around you! www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wnvpf
9. This one’s essential. Listen to Blue Monday by New Order. Probably the best track of all time.