Blue Monday: Happiness expert reveals top remedies to beat the January blues – ‘be social’

Blue Monday – The Facts

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Last year, Blue Monday was harder than ever with the lockdown contributing to the existing financial, social and mental pressures of January. Despite being out of lockdown, 2022 is expected to be just as troubling for many Brits, as home working orders continue to stay in place. spoke to Nic Marks, happiness expert, statistician and CEO of Friday Pulse, to find out the best ways to shake the January blues for good.

The theory goes that the third week of January marks the peak time of year for a nationwide case of the new year blues.

Coupled with the existing pressures of January, the isolation of home working creates an even greater risk of feeling down this Blue Monday.

Speaking exclusively to, happiness expert, statistician and CEO of Friday Pulse, Nic Marks said: “We are naturally very social creatures as humans, so nearly everything to do with improved happiness is social.

“The number of social interactions we have in a day has halved during Covid, and that does cumulatively catch up with people.”

Re-think your new year’s resolutions

Between plummeting temperatures, post-Christmas debt and the return to work, there are plenty of reasons for failing to stick to those ambitious new year’s resolutions.

While an improved diet and being more active is always a beneficial health goal, Nic said that it is important to focus on changing your mindset rather than rushing the physical results.

Nic said: “I think one of the things that makes us do nothing is setting the goals too high.

“What is realistic is to think about the type of person that you want to become and train yourself to think about the choices that a more positive or healthier person would make for instance.”

One of Nic’s top remedies for resolving feelings of failure, is to explore the idea of accountability.

Nic added: “If you do things in a social environment, you’re more likely to be healthier, happier and actually achieve your goals in the long run.”

Embrace new habits while socialising

With socialising at the heart of happiness, finding ways to get out more while saving money and breaking bad habits can be off-putting for many.

Dry January is one of the key culprits for reduced social interaction, with thousands of pub-loving Brits saying no to social outings while abstaining from alcohol.

Nic explained that while giving into temptation is not the answer, hibernating from social opportunities can also be very damaging to our mental health.

He said: “In some ways, dry January is nonsense in the way it encourages people to stay at home and do nothing.

“Not meeting people in the pub is actually really counterproductive to what we need in January – it’s not a good time to hibernate.”

Instead, remember what it is that you’re trying to avoid and embrace socialising in the absence of bad habits – whether that be drinking, overeating or over-spending.

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Invest in your relationships

Surrounding yourself with positive relationships is the of the best remedies for unhappiness, and there are three crucial steps you should take to maintain them this Blue Monday.

Nic explained: “Our relationships are the cornerstone of our happiness and COVID-19 has put particular pressure on that.

“It’s about intentionally reaching out to people and not underestimating that just those little relationships are very, very important to you.”

You have all the time in the world to be glued to a screen but time with your loved ones isn’t always guaranteed – as we have all seen in recent years.

Being present is one of the best things you can do to deepen relationships and make more authentic memories.

Nic added: “Have gratitude for people you are thankful for and reach out to let them know.

Gratitude isn’t about physical gifts but it can be something really trivial like a smile or even just a short conversation.

Be proactive about your unhappiness

The average employee spends more than 70 percent of their week at work, yet more than half of UK employees say they are unhappy in their job, according to YouGov poll.

Finding a way to improve your happiness from Blue Monday and beyond won’t just happen – especially if it is because of work, says Nic.

He added: “I think that people can underestimate how draining it is to not enjoy their work and yet it is something that is completely in our control.

“If you are not satisfied or fulfilled by your job, I think you should take that seriously rather than think that it might just get better.”

Nic’s key tips for navigating happiness in the workplace include:

  • Think about the type of job you want and to set out a list of things you expect from that position
  • Choose happiness over money – working hard for 10 to 20 years might make you wealthy but it doesn’t guarantee happiness
  • Don’t let company benefits undermine your true feelings towards your job
  • Choose something you enjoy doing – if you start with what you enjoy, life will be better in the long run

If you are concerned about navigating a new career path, there are a number of data-based tools which could help you, including Nic’s very own Happiness Test.

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