Six of the Best: Ways to beat ‘Blue Monday’

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Christmas is a distant memory, pay day’s miles off, the weather is shocking, it’s dark and, well, you get the picture. January 20 has been dubbed ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Here are six ways to beat those January blues.

‘Me Time’

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No, we’re not suggesting you throw a ‘sickie’, far from it. We’re suggesting you book the day off officially (although you’ll have to be quick about it).

‘Me time’ is important, according to an increasing number of sources. Take psychologists, for example and, indeed, anyone over 40, who will talk at length about ‘mindfulness’ and ‘being in the moment’. Think adult colouring books.

Taking a day off (even later in the week), will enable you to immerse yourself in mindless house-based tasks or just sit in your pyjamas eating cereal from the packet while watching catch-up TV.

Get Fit

Apparently, exercise releases midi-chlorians into the body (nope, sorry, that’s Star Wars). Whichever, getting up and active is one of the best ways to trick your aging, aching carcass of a body into believing something positive is happening to it. So, while you might not feel good while you’re doing it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel good after, not least because you will also be wallowing in smugness and have bragging rights to your friends, meaning you can send them enviable texts such as ‘yeah, went for run today, feel good.’ You’re king of the jungle.

Enjoy a tipple (just a small one, mind)

Not that long ago, the official advice was that the odd drink did you no harm at all. On the contrary, some articles suggested that in moderation alcohol could have some health benefits. Even this week, The Times reported that small amounts of red wine could help in the “bedroom department”, as they politely termed it (and no, they didn’t mean it helps with clearing laundary from the floor). According to the government, however, all alcohol is now bad. Evil, almost. But so is breathing the diesel fumes from thousands of cars. So, go on, have a drink. Just one, though.

DIY

Fixing stuff around the house produces endorphins (happy hormones) in the brain, which in turn tricks your body into thinking something good is happening.

In this case, however (and so long as you don’t hammer a nail through your thumb and end up in A&E), it’s no trick, because something good is happening.

Rather than paying an incompetent workman who will drink lots of tea while listening to a paint-splattered radio and occasionally nipping out for a fag, you’ll be saving money by completing menial jobs yourself. Plus, again, bragging rights.

Go Shopping

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Men and women shop in entirely different ways. When men go shopping, they act rather like a lion hunting some poor, doomed animal, in that they already know what they want before they get there and when they do get there, they entirely focus on that, blocking out all other stimuli until ‘the kill’ is made and they are safely back at home and holding the TV remote.

Women, on the other hand, like to browse and can spend hours in just one section of a shop, slowly grazing on the rich green shoots of the shopping meadows. Both kinds have health benefits.

Sleep On It

Cats have got the right idea when it comes to the work-life balance. Not that they ‘work’ as such - with them it’s more of a play-rest balance. Anyway, sleep just happens to be one of the best things you can do. It allows your body to relax and repair itself. If you can get over the guilt of dropping out of the rat race for 24 hours, why not spend a day just slobbing on the couch, before shuffling off back to bed.

As the Great Bard himself quipped in Henry IV: “O sleep, O gentle sleep, nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness.”

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26 April 2017.......      Richard Kirby, who runs Outdoor Classrooms Ltd at The Sawmill - Crossfield Farm in 
Calverley. Picture Tony Johnson.

Classroom with a view: The Leeds firm which wants to help schools take learning outdoors... they’re even having a free giveaway