Blue Monday: cheer up kid, January doesn’t have to be grim

12 quick ways to cheer yourself up immediately…

Somewhat hilariously, in 2005 Cliff Arnall, a tutor at Cardiff University set out to determine the most miserable and depressing day of the year. The resulting formula is as follows:

Depression Formula

So, to decode.

W= weather


T= time since Christmas

Q= time since failing at our new year’s resolutions

M= low motivational levels

N= is the sense of need to take action.

Yes, that leaves D, no where is it stated what D represents, but I think we all get the idea.

From this formula Arnall was able to surmise that the most depressing day of the year, is in fact the third Monday in January.

Whilst this is largely regarded to be an absurd exercise in pseudoscience, we can all relate to the January blues. Soon, mulled wine and twinkly lights will be but a distant memory and our credit card statements will be a harsh reality.

Before you resign yourself to the aftermath of Christmas cheer, here are some suggestions sure to pick you up, when you’re feeling low.

1. Go on an Ancoats Peeps Scavenger hunt

Ancoats Aviation

A what, you say? Fair enough. In the Ancoats area there are a number of brass eye pieces set into walls that allow you to peep into the history of Manchester. According to the Ancoats Peeps people themselves, “If it seems that there is no clear explanation as to what the Peeps are, or exactly how many there are, or where they are, that is because there is no explanation to be had. The Peeps are to be stumbled across. They may not all be found, and there is no single explanation as to what they are, or what they are about.” Adventure time!

2. Get moving

Theyclub Castlefield Manchester 2014 1797

Go for a run (or a bike ride, or a swim etc.) The endorphins released during exercise are sure to boost your mood. Plus, you’ll sleep better and have more energy to enjoy the rest of your day.

Join Manchester’s largest and friendliest gym; Y Club in Castlefield. They have free classes, a swimming pool and an indoor running track.

3. Watch Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Really, just do it. It will make you happy.

4. Learn something new

Manchester Central Library 03With Manchester’s Central Library beautified and open again, there is no reason not to pop over and hit the books. Grab a coffee or a hot chocolate in the cafe and you’ve got yourself a lovely afternoon.

5. Volunteer

Volunteer Centre Manchester

Looking outside of ourselves is a quick way to put things in perspective and make someone else’s day just a little bit brighter. Volunteer Centre Manchester helps Manchester residents to volunteer and promotes good practice to volunteer involving organisations.

6. Make up a holiday

Ibiza Sunset At Cafe Mambo

—and then celebrate it intensely, however you want.

7. Buy yourself flowers

David Wayman Flowers

Why? Because you deserve it— reminding yourself of that will surely lift your spirits.

Picture credit: David Wayman Flowers, Spinningfields.

8. Eat some Chocolate

Bonbon Hot Chocolate

Go on, you know you want to— and (as long as it’s dark chocolate) it will actually boost your mood.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and it contains a mild mood elevator called PEA or phenyl-ethylamine, which is found in high concentrations in happy people.

Picture credit: hot chocolate & truffles at Bonbon Chocolate Boutique.

9. Bottle of wine and charades

Hangingditch Manchester

Hilarity ensues… always.

hangingditch wine merchants is an independent wine specialist, ideally situated next to the Cathedral and Harvey Nichols just off Deansgate. They have a few amazing offers on at the moment such as three bottles of world class wine for just £25.

10. Connect with someone awesome

Free Hugs

Pick up the phone and call someone, meet up for a wander, give someone a hug—studies show we are happier when we feel close to others.

11. Give your unwanted gifts/clothes to charity


As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Make someone else’s life better, whilst creating more space in your own for what’s to come.

12. Grab a bargain

Atlas Bar Foodie 6 Of 7 Remember, you live in Manchester. You’re lucky enough to live in what is arguably the best city on earth and January is a great time to get out there and enjoy it. Check out our Manchester offers section for great deals on even greater nights out. Cause’ everyone loves a good bargain.

Pictured: Dine and drink for £19 at Atlas Bar.


Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to

Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a real difference in the lives of others, especially those close to home.


This week