It’s official. January 21st is the most depressing day of the year. The third Monday in January has been called Blue Monday ever since a PR company picked the date to create an equation for one of their clients, based on factors such as weather, debt and motivation.
It might not have been the most scientific study, yet here we are, 14 years later, and it’s a staple in the calendar.
Stats or no stats, it’s no secret Mondays aren’t happy, not least in the depths of January. So to give you a much-needed boost, here are a few suggestions on how to survive the most miserable day of the year.
You can trick yourself into feeling happier by simply smiling. So why not give yourself a helping hand at the end of a long day by heading to a comedy night. The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club hosts its weekly Beat the Frog open mic night from 8pm on Monday evenings. Hopefuls are given five minutes on stage to impress card-clasping audience members. If they succeed, they’re invited back for a clap-off at the end of the night. The evening has helped launch the careers of Peter Kay, Johnny Vegas and Jason Manford to name but a few – so not only are you guaranteed a few laughs, you could see the next comedy star.
Eat good food
Food has a huge impact on our mood. It lifts the soul, and provides a source of protein, fibre, a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as carbs, while doing so. Carbohydrates are considered the greatest comfort food. For a mood-boosting meal, head to one of the city’s many Italian restaurants to get your happy fix. As it’s January, there are plenty of discounts to take advantage of, such as the 50 per cent discount at Cibo on Liverpool Road. Check out all the offers on the I Love MCR app.
One of the simplest, and cheapest, ways to reduce stress hormones is to go for a walk. It’ll boost your circulation, increase your oxygen supply, release endorphins (the happy hormones) and provide a source of Vitamin D, which is crucial in combating the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Whether it’s a wander through the bustling streets or along the quiet canals of Castlefield, be sure to leave your desk at lunchtime, take an amble for 30 minutes and explore what’s right under your nose.
Escape to the theatre
Take yourself out of the daily grind by heading to the theatre and immersing yourself in another world for a little while. The Fall at HOME explores the expectations and pressures we all put on ourselves on January 21st. Over at the Opera House, Corrie’s Beverley Callard has joined the cast of The Rocky Horror Show for a limited run. Join her and do The Time Warp to cheer yourself up, or opt for big laughs at Mel Brooks’ The Producers at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Some serious self-indulgence is the order of the day, so book yourself in at one of the region’s stunning spas and feel your woes and worries drift away. A day pass at the city’s Midland Hotel’s Spa is priced £30 and includes access to the relaxation pool and thermal areas until 8.30pm. The Macdonald Hotel’s Twilight Spa package costs £39 and includes a 25 minute Elemis treatment and prosecco.
Remember to breathe
Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to tackle negative thoughts which can feel overwhelming at times. Yoga calms the body and mind to leave you physically and mentally rejuvenated. Yoga Express Manchester on Church Street hosts 45 minute classes starting at 6pm on Monday nights, priced £7. Based on the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, it’ll reduce feelings of stress and tension, and improve clarity and a sense of wellbeing. Suitable for all levels, these are drop-in classes and yoga mats are provided for free, so it makes for a great last-minute reboot.