THERE was no Blue Monday 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, the third Monday of January was given the name Blue Monday and is said to be the most depressing day of the year.

It was awarded the gloomy title in 2005 after a university professor managed to precisely calculate the most depressing day of the year using a formula centred around post-Christmas blues, failed New Year’s resolutions, cold dark nights and the arrival of credit card bills.

Now we all wake up believing we should feel wretched - even if we haven’t got a 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 a third 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 all for the good. Staying in means not spending. So if those bank statements send shockwaves through your body, 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 currently with - there are no rewards for loyalty in the insurance business - I will have to spend hours ringing round to find better deals. But at least 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 so much advice surrounding how to survive January, from walking in the countryside to taking up a new hobby and planning a holiday later in the year.

It’s hard to hear so many negative things about a month containing your birthday. I was born 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 borne 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 another year, which will have good months and bad months. You never know, January may be one of the better ones.