JANUARY is an odd month. We celebrate its arrival on a grand scale, throwing parties, letting off fireworks and carousing until the small hours.

Then, when we open our eyes in the cold light of January 1 we do a massive U-turn and decide it’s a miserable, depressing, horrible month. Weird, isn’t it?

You can’t escape it, January can be depressing. It’s cold, dank, dark and there are no Christmas festivities bubbling up on the horizon. For many of us it’s simply a reminder that there’s another year ahead to slog through.

This coming Monday, January 15, is officially the most depressing day of the year. Dubbed Blue Monday, it’s the day when a perfect storm of things that get us down come together - poor weather, credit card demands laden with Christmas debt, a lengthy wait until the next bank holiday and a general lack of energy and motivation.

That’s another bizarre thing about this month: the year has barely begun and yet here we are, labelling one day in mid-January as the most depressing. How can we possibly know that a day in mid-March, at the end of June or the beginning of September may turn out to be equally, or even more dismal, than the second Monday of the year?

Blue Monday is not an extensively-researched and proven phenomena. The term was coined by psychologist, Cliff Arnall, in 2004, when UK travel company, Sky Travel, asked him for a 'scientific formula' for the January blues.

Any sensible person would dismiss it as a load of codswallop invented for a travel firm to sell more holidays.

Let’s face it, Mondays are nobody’s favourite day of the week. In 2022 Guinness World Records officially declared Monday as the most hated day of the week. Sundays are always ruined by the prospect of Monday. So why should the third Monday in January be any worse than all the others?

Everything considered, it’s as though we are being brainwashed into believing that January is a dour month to face through gritted teeth, and one day in particular is far worse than the others.

If we believe all this we will be miserable throughout the whole of the month. Is this what we want?

Maybe we should ignore the naysayers and think of January as a new beginning, 31 days during which we pledge to face last year's problems with a steely determination to solve them and put them behind us.

Instead of being steeped in misery we should try and face each day with a spring in our step: do things that make us feel good - go for a walk, go for a coffee with friends, cook a meal you’ve never made before.

Of course, when you’re back at work after the festive break there’s little time for relaxation, but try at least one every day - even a 15-minute walk in the fresh air can make you feel more alive and invigorated.

For me, this much-maligned month really is associated with beginning. On January 31, 63 years ago, I was born. For me it should be a month of joy, with my birthday at the end.

My much-missed mum and dad were also born in January, so, for most of my life, we had three family birthdays to celebrate, bringing welcome post-Christmas cheer.

Despite this, along with many other people, I'm not a fan of January. It’s hard to shake off the gloom. Then again, bear in mind that every day of January brings a couple more minutes of daylight. That’s more than an hour across the month. All things considered, maybe it’s not so bad, after all.