So Wednesday 28th January is designated as the worst day of the year so far. Supposedly.
Credit card bills from indulgent Christmas shopping make their appearance on the mat, you gulp as you realise your tax bill is due to be paid in three days, you reluctantly acknowledge that the seven pounds you gained over Christmas haven't budged, the days may be getting longer but it certainly doesn't feel it as the weather gets bitingly colder.
Now this calculation, this accumulation of supposed depression may indeed reach its apex on the 28th. But really now, for many of us there will be far more painful days - the death of a loved one, the collapse of a relationship, the hardship of unemployment, an illness or accident.
However, there seems to be almost an accepted satisfaction that this algorithm of misery reaches a crescendo on the 28th and you're stuck with it.
We at Impact Factory think there are a few antidotes to the worst day of the year, if indeed, it is so for you.
Get rid of stuff.
The first is a tried and true technique that's recommended by loads of people (including us big time),and that's to spend some time clearing space. If you spend just one hour clearing a desk drawer, a closet, the crap in your loft, the stuff on the back seat or boot of your car, the box shoved under the bed, you will feel better.
Get a Cathie.
If you want an even bigger boost, get a chum with no emotional attachment to your stuff to help. My husband and I have done this a few times (especially recently, as we are moving house) and our wonderful 'master organiser' friend Cathie Smart not only acts as a cheerleader, but as soon as one of us says, "I think I'll get rid of this." she whisks it away to either go to the Hospice shop, to someone else or to the recycling centre before we can change our minds.
Get realistic about your finances.
You can bury your head in the sand, but sure as apples is apples, your bum will be sticking out ready to be bitten. Go to Citizen's Advice or the Money Advice Service; have a genuine discussion with your bank manager; talk frankly to a financially savvy friend. Whatever you do, you'll need to face reality and there are people out there to help.
We don't necessarily mean go to the gym or train for a marathon, though anything like that does help get those endorphins moving around. What we mean is don't just sit there bemoaning your fate, do something, anything, to shift your mental, emotional and physical dynamic: bake a cake, go for a walk, feed the birds, take some photographs of wildlife, mend a broken relationship, start a journal.
Just about anything that changes a negative pattern will do.
We talk a lot about change at Impact Factory and I've written about small changes in this blog before. Changing the status quo if the status quo isn't working is guaranteed to make a difference in your life; a positive difference.
Do it together.
This goes hand in hand with getting a Cathie. Sometimes doing things alone is great and also quite nourishing; a goodly dose of solitude helps replenish the soul. However, when you find yourself feeling miserable, sitting and stewing in your own juices doesn't usually end up making a tasty dish, it usually means creating more misery.
And we don't mean joining forces with someone equally depressed - misery may love company but it doesn't change anything. Look around your friends and connect with someone who has some energy, some creativity, a zest for life and spend some time with them.
Then you can face the worst day of the year, if it indeed is the worst day for you, with far more strength, confidence and enthusiasm for whatever is going to happen next.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory