Blue Monday: Seven things to make you cheerful

What will cheer you up today?What will cheer you up today?
What will cheer you up today?

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As the "most depressing day of the year" sweeps the nation, we take a look at reasons to be happy on so-called Blue Monday.

While research claims that the time of year and weather is what makes Blue Monday miserable, debt, the post-Christmas lull and loneliness can also have an affect on people's moods.

New research by the Co-op found that the first month of the year is when British people are at their loneliest, with 26% claiming it is when they feel the most isolated.

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But, we promise, it isn't all bad. Here’s 11 things that should put a smile on your face today.

1. Beautiful scenery: The weather may be cold, but look at how gorgeous our region is! We know the snow and ice is a nightmare during your journey to work, but as you're sitting on the sofa with a cuppa just take a moment to look out of your window and appreciate the North East winter wonderland.

2. Elvis at the Empire: The King is going to be in the house! This weekend, Sunderland Empire is playing host to the music of Elvis Presley himself, with a tribute act from Lee Memphis King. Click here for more information about Saturday's event if you fancy a fun night out.

3. Sunday dinner: It may not be Sunday, but that doesn't mean you can't sit down with a plate of meat, veggies and (most importantly) Yorkshire pud. We know roasts are also available throughout the year, but is there anything better than this meal when the weather is frightful? We don't think so! Click here to find out what our reviewer thought of a Sunday dinner in the region.

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4. Valentine's Day: February 14 may not be the most popular day of the year for some, but if you love an occasion and excuse to make plans - this is it! Plan a romantic evening with your other half, take your parents out for Sunday lunch or plan a night on the town with your friends. Getting an event in the diary can totally alter your mood; after all, it's something to look forward to.

5. Easter: The next bank holiday may seem like a lifetime away, but rejoice because Easter is early this year! We only need to wait until March 25 for Good Friday to roll around. But first let's not forget, Shrove Tuesday (February 9) is on the horizon - and it's only less than a month to wait. Best get those pancake recipes out!

6. The football: Some might say January is one of the most exciting months in the footballing calendar - transfer window time. So whatever your club, you can't deny it's the time of year when fans really do get involved. Who wants the summer to arrive, anyway? What are you hoping for before the window ends?

7. That Strictly feeling: As we battle against the post-Christmas lull, it's sad to know that some of the year's biggest telly is over for a little while. But never fear, because the sequins are on their way! The Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour will explode into Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena next month - so if you want to keep dancing, click here for more information.

What will make you smile today?