Today, Monday 19 January, is 'Blue Monday', supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Originally coined to drum up publicity for a travel company, the concept of Blue Monday is widely regarded as pseudoscience, with a number of companies subsequently jumping on the idea for their own publicity. Tetley Tea, for example, has dubbed today 'Brew Monday', encouraging customers to put the kettle on as a way of lifting everyone from their January slump.
RSCPP-listed Registered Psychotherapist Sue Crofton suggests taking the idea of 'Blue Monday' with a pinch of salt, explaining that: "Sometimes a tagline like that is a set up - we hear this is the most depressing day of the year and prepare to feel low."
However, while Blue Monday may have its roots in pseudoscience and cynical commercialism, there is some truth in the idea that we're especially likely to feel down at this time of year.
We all know that Mondays can be a struggle at the best of times, and stats from rscpp.co.uk show that it's the busiest day for therapy enquiries. At this time of year in particular, the short, dark days, and the post-Christmas return to reality, can add to the gloomy Monday morning feeling and make you feel low, or may even cause you to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - a seasonal form of depression.
If you are feeling especially low at the moment, we asked three of our therapists for their top tips on getting through the more miserable days:
I'm a huge fan of exercise and I would recommend any form of activity as a way of boosting mood - from a full-on gym session to a walk.
Create a plan for how you want the week to go, to encourage yourself for the week ahead.
Do something different - go to work a different way and notice what's around you on your journey.
Invest in Vitamin B Complex; it's a stress buster and all round energiser.
Don't start your day reading a newspaper or listening to the news - right now it's very depressing.
Make a decision to get to bed an hour earlier.
As a general tip, I usually ask clients who might be prone to depression or low moods what they eat. Junk food can affect your mood and contribute to feeling sluggish. Have a good breakfast - before you leave home, not a snatched bite on the way to work.
Plan a reward for the coming weekend - this could be meeting with a friend, seeing a movie or getting out of town.
Tell yourself it's only one day - just like any other - and will soon be over. The days are gradually getting longer and spring won't be long in coming.
Choose whatever colour brings you a sense of warmth, or fun, and vitality; wear this colour on Monday and throughout the rest of the week, or month, until winter ends and spring arrives. Choose consciously whatever seems to exude energy, be it food, music, screen-savers, or whatever. Because the mind is very suggestible, each thought triggers emotional responses and subtle changes in bodily energy.