Britons bracing themselves to beat ‘Blue Monday’ slump

By PA Reporter

Britons will be hoping to beat the “Blue Monday” slump – as the third Monday of January is thought to be the most depressing day of the year.

For those who do not think Blue Monday is just a marketing gimmick, it is a time when people need a pick-me-up as the festive season is well and truly over, bills have arrived and there is still a couple of weeks until payday.

Other factors may be that the weather is not great and new year resolutions could already be a thing of the past.

In light of these woes, a series of activities and events have been drawn up across the nation to bolster energy and community spirit, plus to help support mental health.

The Chatty Bus is back on East Yorkshire buses – where 50 ambassadors are being sent out to talk to people, distribute “happy to chat” badges and raise awareness of the problems of loneliness.

They are are set to be out for most of the morning covering routes to and from Hull, Hessle, Cottingham, Willerby, Longhill and Anlaby. It follows on from the success of the first Chatty Bus day last year.

The Samaritans are determined to turn Blue Monday into Brew Monday, by offering people a cup of tea.

They said volunteers are going to be getting people “to connect over a warming cuppa”. It is also be the chance to raise money for Samaritans so that people who are having a tough time can have somewhere to turn when they need to talk.

A person’s mood on Blue Monday could be made worse by the potential of them going into the red financially, according to Lisa Fernihough, head of financial services consultancy KPMG UK.

Trying to deal with debts and loans will be the biggest expenditure for 14% of the UK in January, according to a study for KPMG of 2,000 adults.

Ms Fernihough said: “Over half of UK consumers are forced to rely on extra cash to keep afloat for the month, that is bound to put considerable strain on people day to day.

“On Blue Monday, many will no doubt feel a very long way from both their last, pre-Christmas, payday and the next – which can really heighten the challenge.

“There’s no silver bullet for improving people’s finances – but clearly either income, lifestyle or financial literacy is far from where it needs to be.”

The Aquarium’s Deep Blue Monday zone (Jonathan Short/Sea Life London)

Sea Life London Aquarium is hoping that its invitation for passers-by to work from the site will defeat stress and improve mental health.

It has created a Deep Blue Monday zone in front of its ocean tank, where people can log on and call their work buddies in a calming underwater setting.

It is thought that watching fish displays while in an aquarium can help reduce blood pressure, defeat stress and improve mental health.

Sea Life London Aquarium’s head of operations, Neil Harris, said: “Rather than taking a duvet day on what is considered the most depressing of the year, we’re encouraging Londoners to spend their working day at the London aquarium to instantly feel better.

“Research proves amazing underwater displays can have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing so what better way to de-stress than getting nose to fin with awe-inspiring creatures who peacefully glide by such as green sea turtles, rays and sharks.”

Neilson is looking for an Oomph Officer (Ian Gavan/Brighter PR)

In an effort to get the country moving Neilson Active Holidays has launched a search to hire someone in a new role as its Chief Oomph Officer.

The successful candidate “will ignite some oomph and look forward to this being the start of our mission in helping the UK to get active”, according to Neilson Active Holidays chief executive David Taylor.

It comes after the firm commissioned research which found that 58% of Londoners, just ahead of 56% of people from Brighton, said they spend most of their spare time on the sofa and do next to no exercise.

Some 55% of Norwich residents, 53% of people from Stoke-on-Trent, and 51% of Leeds residents said they were similarly inactive.

Despite 47% of Britons thinking of themselves as couch potatoes, and 56% who said they would prefer to spend their weekends chilling out rather than than being active, some 78% of those quizzed believed a day of activity made them feel good, the researchers found.