21 Jan 2013

Blue Monday: how to bounce back

With the third Monday in January branded the most depressing day of 2013, Channel 4 News presents the ultimate experts’ guide on how to battle Blue Monday.

How to battle the Monday blues (Image: Getty)

First the bad news. Today is apparently the most depressing day of 2013. The worst day to start a new job, tackle the world’s problems or do anything other than crawl under the duvet and wait for it all to pass.

The reason? A much-hyped – and much ridiculed – formula dreamt up at Cardiff University just before the recession.

Psychologist Cliff Arnall calculated that the third Monday of January represents the peak of post-Christmas gloom. Factors included weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivation levels, and the need to take action.

But don’t despair. Eager not to succumb to the gloom, Channel 4 News has asked experts for their tips on how to survive the day.

Let us know what you think of their advice, and share your own tips with us on Twitter using the hashtag #battlebluemonday.

The songs to inspire

By Will Hope, labels relations director, Spotify

Randy Crawford: Street Life (1979)
A whip smart tale full of drive, attitude and the powers of perseverance.

NWA: Express Yourself (1988)
A flawless single released amid the fury that surrounded the band’s debut album. Built on a brilliantly infectious Charles Wright sample.

Amadou & Miriam: Sabali (2008)
The Malian couple’s sixth album, recorded with Damon Albarn, is captivating: the sort of piece whose very existence will brighten every corner of your day.

Nina Simone: I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free (1967)
This civil rights anthem has one of the most recognisable piano riffs of all time. Nina Simone’s version is a gospel-fuelled, blood-pumping beauty.

Sufjan Stevens: Chicago (2005)
A rich, soul-baring piece of songwriting with an incredibly full and celebratory arrangement.

The books to read

By Sue Ryan, director of the Henley Literary Festival

The Jeeves Omnibus Volume 1 by PG Wodehouse
Let one of our greatest writers take you back to altogether more daunting world of fearsome aunts, country houses and gentlemen’s clubs.

Tepper Isn’t Going Out by Calvin Trillin
Trillin takes the unlikely subject of New York parking and turns it into a wryly funny celebration of life’s little victories.

The Tent, The Bucket & Me by Emma Kennedy
You may long for the carefree days of childhood holidays – but Kennedy’s razor-sharp humour reminds you that they could be every bit as painful.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Beautiful writing and the fact its author overcame locked-in syndrome to dictate the book via blinking makes this a truly inspiring real-life tale.

The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger by David Nobbs
David Nobbs’s latest creation is a timely reminder that the perfect life we don’t have is not all its cracked up to be.

The films to watch

By Jane Crowther, editor of Total Film

This remains Steven Spielberg’s finest and most uplifting film. Unlock the child in you with a life-affirming tale of intergalactic friendship.

Feeling down? At least you’re not Annie Walker – unlucky in love, broke, fighting the bridesmaids of her bestie’s wedding. Bittersweet, filthy, spirit-lifting laughs.

When Harry Met Sally
The ultimate New York rom-com replete with proper snow. Nora Ephron’s witty dialogue and standout performances make this a warm hug of a film.

It’s a Wonderful Life
George Bailey (James Stewart) comes to realise how his mundane, tiny life holds significance for many.

My Neighbour Totoro
Studio Ghibli’s magical animated adventure – an ode to friendship featuring forest spirits and a Catbus.

The ingredients to add

By Nick Carter, co-founder of Sous Chef

Chipotle smoked chilli powder
Blast the blues with endorphin-releasing chilli powder. Sprinkle over beef, beans or vegetable dishes.

Lotus leaves
Scrap plates and washing up this evening. Wrap any dish in pre-soaked lotus leaves instead and allow to infuse delicate tea aromas. Ideal for rice and fish dishes.

Champagne vinegar
Still on detox, but hankering for bubbles? Splash your salad with some champagne vinegar. Lettuce will never taste so decadent.

Popping candy
Transport yourself back to an era of innocence. Once a playground essential, popping candy can be sprinkled over most desserts.

Coloured salt
Forget dull white rocks. Try black lava salt, or as a cheerier alternative the deep, sultry red alaea salt coloured from Hawaiian baked volcanic clay.

The games to play

By Nathan Brown, games editor, Edge Magazine

Frog Fractions
A remarkable work of increasing lunacy with a quite fantastic soundtrack. It might not cure the blues outright, but it’ll certainly take your mind off it.

To The Moon
This tells the story of two doctors reliving a man’s wish on his deathbed to travel to the moon. Heartbreaking, but ultimately heartwarming, stuff.

What better way to counter the most depressing day of the year by raising an entire civilisation and sending them out to war in your name?

More than oddball variations on Atari’s classic pong game. An inspiring showcase of what can be done with the simplest of core ideas.

If none of those resonate, why not make your own? With Gameglobe you can craft your own utopia – or play inside someone else’s.