Blue Monday: Reasons to cheer up

Laughter is the best medicine for coping with Blue Monday. Picture: Rob McDougall
Laughter is the best medicine for coping with Blue Monday. Picture: Rob McDougall
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The festive season is over, it’s cold, it’s wet and let’s face it – we could all do with a bit of cheering up.

The third Monday in January, also known as “Blue Monday”, is officially considered the most miserable day of this, the most miserable of months.

The rain, and the temperature, keep falling, the credit card bills detailing the damage done at Christmas begin to land on the doorstep and summer seems a long, long way away. It’s perhaps unsurprising that tempers can begin to fray.

Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, said that their services typically see a significant increase in calls immediately after the New Year, with their Edinburgh service, Couple Counselling Lothian, having been contacted by 100 new clients in the past fortnight.

He said: “For many, the Christmas holidays are far from the idealised scenes we see in TV adverts. All too often our counsellors hear of bitter and protracted arguments, with disagreements over infidelity, money, in-laws and household chores.

“New Year is also when many people take time to think about their future, especially their relationships.”

But before things get too heavy, let’s remember what a wise man once said: “Laughter is the best medicine” – a statement that was recently backed up by researchers at the University of Oxford, who discovered that test subjects who had recently experienced belly laughs were able to withstand up to ten per cent more pain than they had previously.

So, to help our readers get a genuinely happy new year off to the right start, the Evening News has put together a smorgasbord of jokes, things to look forward to, and handy hints to bring on a better mood for those feeling blue this Monday.

Feel free to tweet us some of your own favourite jokes today @EdinburghPaper.

Reasons to be cheerful

THERE’s a lot of stuff to look forward to in 2014.

Fans of top Scots comedian Frankie Boyle can catch him trying out new material at The Stand Comedy Club on York Place tonight, and for the next few Mondays. Best bit – it’s only £2 to get in!

Sport-lovers are spoilt for choice this year, with the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the World Cup – even if Scotland didn’t qualify, we can still cheer on our English cousins, right? Right?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – IT’S A TRAM. Some sharp-eyed residents have already caught glimpses of these legendary creatures, gliding through our suddenly roadwork-free streets in the dead of night. Though currently nocturnal, you can expect to see the lesser-spotted Edinburgh tram in daylight hours from May.

As grandfather of funk James Brown once sang: “Is it yes or no?” That’s the question we’ll all be answering this September, when Scotland votes on whether to become independent. Whatever way you’re voting, many will breathe a sigh of relief to have the question answered.

THE BEST MEDICINE

IF it’s hard to raise a smile, it can be a good idea to raise your heart rate instead.

Physical exercise is recommended by many health experts to those strugging with depression and mental health issues, advice taken to heart by The Thistle Foundation, a Scottish charity which supports people with disabilities and other health conditions. The foundation has seen encouraging results from exercise sessions held at their community gym space.

Edinburgh Leisure is also hoping to help residents beat the blues by offering a Cashback promotion throughout January, specially designed to help customers achieve their goals and keep their resolutions to get fitter. New members will have their £35 joining fee refunded after the first eight weeks – if they attend an average of twice a week.

David McLean, fitness manager at Edinburgh Leisure, said: “Try giving yourself an instant endorphins boost to get you through the day. Fast, fun, high energy classes are perfect for this. Try the early morning Metafit or the Xpress class, a lunchtime circuits class, or round off the day with Zumba or BodyJam. Alternatively, if you have been thinking of signing up to a new class, joining a gym or training for a marathon, make this the day you get started. Setting a goal makes us feel more positive and gives you something to aim for.”

Have you heard the one about . . ?

WE asked city figures and comedians for some jokes to cheer you up on this most depressing of days. Here’s what they came up with . . .

• Former Miss West Lothian and star of America’s Next Top Model, Ashley Brown: “What kind of bees make milk? Boobies.”

• Over the Rainbow star Jenny Douglas: “Who’s the coolest guy in the hospital? The ultra-sound guy.”

• Tom Stade, comedian: “People say Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, but I found Divorce-You-And-Take-Away-Your-Kids-Because-You-Can’t-Handle-Your-Drink Sunday to be worse. Let’s hope they don’t run consecutively.”

• Peter McColl, Edinburgh University Rector: “Man’s out for a walk on the hills, the local Lord spots him and shouts: ‘Hey you! Get off my land!’ Man shouts back: ‘Well now, how come it’s your land?’ Lord says: ‘My ancestors fought for it.’ Man responds: “Fine then, I’ll fight you for it now.”

• Jo Caulfield, comedian: “I was in Arbroath last week. I’m not saying they’re behind the times, but the UKIP candidate wanted to kick out the Vikings.”

• Councillor Steve Cardownie: “I’ve got two brothers and two sisters and the chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo used to get a bus down to watch us have our tea.”

or . . .“I used to have a job as a mattress salesman. I suppose it’s something to fall back on.”

• Keir McAllister, comedian: “I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic! it’s syncing now.”

• Morag Siller, actress: “What do you call an adventurous duck? James Pond.”

• Robin Grainger, comedian: “I feel sorry for people who are allergic to peanuts. They’ll never know how funny Charlie Brown is.”

• Richard Melvin, director of Dabster Productions – one of my favourite jokes comes from the fantastic Milton Jones. “I would like to see a world without plagiarism . . . People say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”