Today marks the most depressing day of the year. It is indisputably, unquestionably, incontrovertibly, the one day of the year when we don’t feel the need to make excuses for our melancholy mood. Today is officially Blue Monday. And is it any wonder? We’ve been pushed out of the Christmas and New year cocoon into gloomy grey drizzle. The season of good will has been replaced by, ‘oh for god’s sake, there are STILL some pine needles behind the settee’. The season to eat drink and be merry with reckless abandon is officially over.
Of course the blues can hit at any time of the year and let’s be clear here I am talking about ‘the blues’, feeling sluggish and a bit mopey, not about clinical depression, which is of course entirely different and not to be made light of. But because today is officially the most gloomy day of the year, we can all officially be forgiven for jumping in to a hideous onesie, wrap ourselves in our duvet, grab the remote and stick our face onto a box of leftover Quality Street.
I blame New Year’s resolutions. They are less about self-improvement and more about self-flagellation. We solemnly vow to change our very worst habits and promise ourselves that we will exercise more, eat less, drink less. All good things, but to impose them on ourselves after a time of over-indulgence, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Inevitably, being human, a week into the January drudge we slip and high-expectations of ourselves are replaced with disappointment and guilt, so that by the time we hit mid-month we all just feel a bit rubbish.
Well, I’m calling time on this bizarre annual tradition of punishment and in an attempt to beat the blues this Monday I am resolving not to do less of the things I love but more of them.
If there is one thing that being on I’m a Celebrity has taught me it’s to enjoy the little pleasures in life that many of us – myself included – might ordinarily take for granted. So I bought myself a rabbit. If I’d had one on I’m A Celeb, they’d have made me eat him. Our bunny’s name is Shadrach and there’s nothing quite so comforting as watching my two children play with the latest furry addition to our pet-filled house. But pets aren’t for everyone so if seeing your side-boards get increasingly gnawed is more likely to send you in to a tailspin than soothe you, then get off Twitter and lose yourself in a good book. There is something blissful about curling up on the sofa and letting yourself get lost in a story. I’m currently letting January gradually slip by while engrossed in Tony White’s macabre thriller, The Fountain in the Forest.
Or why not do a little something to help others? Not to get all scientific but there are a studies that suggest volunteering your time to a good cause can help you feel more connected and even ward off loneliness and depression. That’s why this Blue Monday, I’m teaming up with fellow comedian, Tom Lucy, to lead an evening of laughter at the Old Bengal Bar in East London; raising the roof and hopefully some vital funds of international development charity, WaterAid.
The work WaterAid does is so important; helping to provide clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to people living in poverty globally. While in the jungle, I had a tiny taste of living without running water on tap and I can’t imagine what life would be like to never have clean water for your children to drink. So I’m doing my little bit to help and while at the same time hopefully lifting some spirits this Blue Monday. I can’t think of a better way to cheer myself up.
D&D London have partnered with WaterAid to host the evening to combat those winter blues whilst supporting a good cause, and will kick start the evening with their “Heaven until 7” happy hour. An optional £1 on every bill will also go towards WaterAid’s Untapped appeal. All money donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK Government until 31 January. For tickets please visit: http://www.oldbengalbar.co.uk/whats-on-liverpool-street/events/blue-monday-comedy/