With the weather still cold, the nights long and Christmas fading into memory (but its financial consequences still very much with us), January can feel pretty bleak.
‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday of the month – is considered by some to be the gloomiest day of the year, and in 2022 it falls on January 17.
But looked at another way, there’s actually a lot of things to be cheerful about this year, whether it’s the prospect of spring soon being with us, all the exciting events on the way, or the return of one VERY eagerly anticipated TV favourite.
So, to help you banish those January blues, here are five reasons to smile.
The days are getting longer
The winter solstice on December 21 marked the shortest day of the year – since then they’ve only been getting longer! While it might not be totally obvious just yet, we’re adding on a few minutes of light every single day.
Long hours of darkness is what many people find hardest about winter – often even more than the cold itself – so this should give you a welcome mood boost.
Lighter evenings make it so much easier to motivate yourself to do activities after work, from going to the gym to meeting up with friends.
They also provide more chances to notice those magical early signs of spring, from new buds on the trees ready to burst into bloom to little green shoots poking through the soil.
The Apprentice is back!
After two years away from our screens, The Apprentice returned with a bang on January 6 at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. If you missed the first episode don’t worry… you can easily watch now on iPlayer, with all other new episodes airing at 9pm each Thursday.
A whole new batch of ambitious entrepreneurs are seeking to prove their business acumen in order to stay out of the firing line during Series 16, with the ultimate winner set to bag a £250,000 investment and the opportunity to go into partnership with Lord Sugar.
Over the course of 10 tough tasks, the 16 candidates will be whittled down until just one victor remains. We won’t give anything away, but you can expect all the usual drama, from cringeworthy mistakes to inflated sales pitches and the occasional ego battle. Make that a ‘regular’ ego battle. It’s sure to be a hot topic across the nation so you won’t want to miss out, and to be honest we can’t think of a better way to get through the misery that is January and February!
Anyone new to The Apprentice will love watching the budding businessmen and women go into battle as they’re divided into two teams, locking horns under the watchful eyes of Lord Sugar’s advisors. And while Baroness Karren Brady is back, there’s a new member of the team in Tim Campbell MBE, who Apprentice mega-fans will recognise as the winner of the first ever Apprentice series back in 2005 – the perfect choice to fill in for much-loved Claude Littner.
And he’s proving to be just as intense in the boardroom as the power trio grill the candidates after each week’s task.
Add in the often confrontational head-to-heads between the losing team’s leader and their colleagues as they fight to stay in the show, and you’re guaranteed some of the best TV moments of 2022.
Not to mention the thrilling denouement of each episode as Lord Sugar issues the immortal phrase, ‘You’re fired’ to one unlucky entrepreneur.
Ah, The Apprentice we salute you! It’s great to have you back!
A clean slate
January is a time for a fresh start, whether it’s quitting a bad habit or adopting new ones that leave you feeling happier and healthier.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve missed the boat with New Year’s resolutions or found it hard to keep those you’ve already chosen – it’s never too late to decide to do something differently.
Often it’s best to start small, becoming a bit more ambitious as time goes by. This makes it easier to stick to your short-term goals while creating a snowball effect down the line.
Take saving money as an example. If you put aside £1 in the first week and then increase this by £1 each following one until you save £52 by week 52, by the end of the period you’d have set aside £1,378 in total.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
This year will see the UK enjoy an extra bank holiday on June 3 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne. And who doesn’t like another day off work?
This is the first time any British monarch has reached this astonishing milestone, and you can expect a blockbuster four days of events including a live concert at Buckingham Palace, a service in St Paul’s Cathedral and all the usual traditional pageantry.
Although the main events will take place in the summer, Her Majesty technically only has to wait until February 6 for her Platinum Jubilee; she was 25-years-old when she acceded to the throne on that day in 1952.
So, if you’re looking for another excuse to raise a glass to the Queen, or just want to take advantage of another long weekend, there you have it!
The World Cup
The FIFA World Cup takes place in November and December this year – the cherry on the cake of a bumper year for sports fans.
The England team already has its place secured, while Scotland and Wales are hoping to join them after play-offs.
There’s nothing quite like cheering on your country in a major tournament, with reality suspended for 90 minutes while you focus all your attention on what’s happening on the pitch.
From the thrills and spills of the games themselves, to pre- and post-match analysis with friends, it promises to be an action-packed few weeks. Bring it on!
So there you see, 2022 is gearing up to be a great year. So there’s no reason to feel blue on January 17.