I HATE to be the bearer of bad news - but everyone else is so I might as well throw my two penn’orth in - the most depressing day of the year is almost upon us.

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of every new year. It’s the day when over-spending at Christmas catches up with us, the weather is at its most miserable and the extra pounds we’ve piled on over the holiday season don’t make for a pretty sight in the mirror.

All in all, it’s a cocktail of woe.

And that’s in a normal year. This year we can add to the mix the ongoing, escalating deaths from a virus that, last January, few of us had heard of.

We can stir in not seeing members of our families for months on end, not being able to visit even when they’re ill or hug them when they need it most.

We can add not having days out let alone holidays for the best part of a year, trying to teach our children at home on rusty old laptops, having to work from home on posture-unfriendly chairs for months on end.

And let’s not forget we are still having to wear masks while out and about, still having to keep our distance from anyone and everyone, and still listening to the news, which has few bright spots despite the vaccine rollout.

If we factor all that in, it’s going to be one heck of a Blue Monday this year.

So how can we fight this annual day-long festival of doom and cheer ourselves up?

I managed to raise a smile when I read about what the charity Samaritans would like to do to Blue Monday. They want to rename it Brew Monday.

Last January volunteers in Edinburgh handed out cups of tea at to commuters at Waverley station to help them get through the day, encouraging them to share a cup of tea with someone in their office who may be feeling lonely.

The charity is pushing to rechristen the day Brew Monday as a day when connecting with others over a cuppa can help weather the ups and downs of life.

What a great idea. Anything to do with tea gets a big thumbs up from me. A cup of tea can help take the edge of most situations, so let’s think of Monday as a day to enjoy one of life’s most uplifting inventions.

We can also think of the day as being only two months away from the first day of spring. Go out for a walk and see if you can spot the signs – snowdrops and crocuses popping up. That’s a welcome sight.

And last but not least, we should look at how Blue Monday came into being.

Despite its widespread acceptance among the British public, there is no scientific evidence to suggest the third Monday of the year is any more or less depressing than any other day.

Bizarrely, the concept appears to have originated in 2005, in a press release from now defunct holiday company and TV channel Sky Travel, who claimed to have used an equation to calculate the date.

The equation takes into account things like weather, temperature, hours of daylight, time until pay day, days until the next bank holiday, and other considerations.

It’s clearly very tongue-in-cheek, so let’s not take it too seriously.

Of course, many of us do suffer from January blues, some very badly. I don’t like January, even though I was born this month. If you found the previous year tough, the thought of another to slog through can weigh heavily.

But, conversely, it is also a new beginning. Let's look forward to brighter times ahead.