UK workplace depression and stress
Blue Monday, the third Monday in January each year, is said to be the most depressing in the calendar Getty

So, if you haven't heard, the third Monday in January is dubbed "Blue Monday" because it is said to be the most depressing day in the year. Understandably the high of Christmas is over, our waists are a little wider, our New Year's resolutions are already out of the window, and our bank balance is much-depleted.

The Blue Monday theory was introduced by a chap called Cliff Arnall in 2005, who at the time was a tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning – a Further Education centre associated with Cardiff University. He used 'science' to suggest that debt level, pay time since Christmas, low motivation levels and cold weather are all to blame for the most miserable Monday of the year.

In the 11 years that has passed, there has been much fanfare about his claim and a health organisation has even been created to help battle the blues, named Beat Blue Monday, they went about ways of beating the melancholy that Blue Monday can bring. They said it can be broken down as follows: W = weather, D = debt, d = monthly salary, M = low motivational levels, Na = the feeling of a need to take action. The formula is {[W + (D-d)] x T^Q} ÷ [M x N_a].

And if that has left you confused - you're not the only one. So why not try these ten tips to defeat your indifferent Monday feeling:

1) Go to the zoo

Here is a more understandable formula for you: Animals make humans happy. Whether its watching peculiar cat videos on our Facebook feed or watching rabbits run around in a field, animals rarely fail to make us smile. In fact a 2008 University of Missouri study found that stroking an animal for just 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

Martin Luther King
It is also Martin Luther King day on January 18th Getty

2) It's not just Blue Monday it's Martin Luther King day too.

18 January is not just the UK's most depressing day, it's also Martin Luther King Day too. In the US it's a public holiday so why not take a lead from the other side of the pond and celebrate the life of the famous civil rights leader and one of the most influential men of the 21<sup>st century. Even better, do as many in America do and spend a whole day volunteering in his honour.

3) Hit the sales

Yes, most of the Christmas in store bargains will be over but that doesn't mean that there are no sales left to enjoy. There are more discount websites than ever with offers on beauty treatments, meals or discounts on experience days – so be good to yourself.

4) Altruism. Altruism. Altruism.

Scientists are more certain the ever that there is a strong link between altruistic behaviour and improved health. Be nice, offer compliments, buy a homeless person a cup of tea and donate a few quid to your favourite charity - it will probably give you a feeling of well-being to brighten the day.

5) Book that holiday

We all need something to look forward to. Whether that's the big local derby or a night on the tiles, there are some great early-bird holiday discounts – so why not take advantage of those offers and book a beach break for the summer.

Vitamin D
High doses of vitamin D can help with feelings of well-being Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

6) Get some Vitamin D

It is January so its been months since we have seen a bit of sun. If that beach break is a little too far away then you NEED to get some much-needed vitamin D. Experts believe it can decrease the risk of depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder). You can buy supplements from your local pharmacy or health shop.

7) Exercise

It doesn't matter how you do it, cycling, running, swimming or parkour just get out and do some exercise. Even if it is just a brisk walk, movement boosts endorphins, and will leave you feeling calmer and happier.

alzheimer's diet  MIND
A glass of wine could help on the most miserable Monday of the year Istock

8) Have a drink

Ok, so don't have too many but some scientists believe that small amounts of red wine could not only help in the "bedroom department" but can also be a good reward if you are feeling under stress. But only one mind, alcohol in excess is a known depressant.

9) Do some DIY

Repaint the hall, wallpaper the lounge and fix that droopy shelf. You have been staring at those little annoying quirks of your home for months now is the time to take action. Just please be careful on that ladder an extended stay at your local A&E will not help with your feelings of depression.

10) It's probably a myth anyway

It is thought that the Blue Monday concept started as a publicity campaign by travel agents Sky Travel to sell last-minute holidays. So tell yourself that your low mood is just a PR stunt backed by pseudoscience.