Blue Monday: the third Monday in January, the saddest day of the year. January is the month when we’re likely to return to earth with a bump. December’s festivities seem a long time ago, the lights have come down, the credit card bills are in and the weather is awful.

Maybe one of the reasons for January being such a difficult month for many of us, is that we’re missing the positive interaction with other people that the festive period brings. That’s the time we are far more likely to have conversed with family, friends, colleagues – even with random strangers – as we celebrated the season.

Contrast that with the rancour now over Brexit, climate change and now the so called ‘Megxit’. In that context, the festive season was a welcome break from hostilities.

It’s worth knowing that Cliff Arnall, at the time a tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, was the one who publicised the Blue Monday concept in the UK. Later though, he told The Independent newspaper that it was ‘never his intention to make the day sound negative’, but rather ‘to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions’. Since it’s likely that all those New Year resolutions are pretty much broken by now, then that’s a great idea. A reminder of what we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year and another kick-start to get there can’t be a bad thing.

How about combining the joy of meeting and conversing with new people with a new skill? Learning a language can do exactly that for you. Whether it’s Spanish, French or even Mandarin, our beginners’ classes are a wonderful place to fire up your brain cells, change your mood and banish those January blues.