IN CASE you missed it, the Monday just gone was Blue Monday, said to be the said to be the most depressing day of the year.

There was no such thing when I was growing up. As months go January wasn’t a favourite, but it was never labelled as a time of year to dread.

Then, suddenly, in 2005, the third Monday of January was awarded the title most depressing day of the year after a university professor did a calculation using a formula centred around post-Christmas blues, failed New Year’s resolutions, dark nights and the arrival of credit card bills.

Now towards the end of January we all wake up believing we should feel wretched - even if we have no reason for it - and console ourselves with the thought that millions of other people across the world are feeling the same.

But really, we should be looking on the bright side. Being two thirds of the way through January means it is only a week until February, which paves the way for spring.

Every day we gain a little light as the days grow longer - something anyone travelling to and from work, especially those who set off and return in darkness, can’t fail but notice.

After the excess and exuberance of Christmas we need slow, dreary January to catch our breath. If we feel a bit down and don’t feel like going out, that’s good. Staying in means not spending. So if those bank statements send shockwaves through you, at least you can calm yourself with the thought of how much you have saved in the first weeks of the new year.

I am served a particularly bad hand this week, with my home and car insurance both due. As usual I have received whacking great quotes from the companies I am with. There are no rewards for loyalty in the insurance business so I'll have to spend hours ringing round to find better deals. But once it’s done, it’s done.

Although it can be depressing to see stuff you bought before Christmas being sold at half price, January offers the chance to bag some bargains in the sales. I’ve already got a few presents, gift wrap and cards for next Christmas. This time I have actually written down what I’ve bought and where I’ve put it. Too many of my prematurely-bought bargains get squirrelled away and forgotten about.

There's so much advice about how to survive January, from country walks to taking up a new hobby and planning a holiday later in the year.

It’s hard to hear so many negative things about January. I was born in this month, as were my mum and dad, so that’s three days out of 31 with something to celebrate.

What I did not realise about Blue Monday is that it was born out of a public relations exercise. It was first publicised as part of a 2005 press release from a holiday company. Cliff Arnall, the university academic behind it, told The Independent newspaper that it was "never his intention to make the day sound negative", but rather "to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions".

It was also reported that he has now made it his mission to challenge some of the negative news associated with January and to debunk the melancholic mind-set of Blue Monday.

I think that’s something we all need to do. January should be seen as a fresh start, a new beginning to a year which will have good months and bad months. You never know, January may be one of the better ones.