In the opening line of The Waste Land T.S. Eliot writes that ‘April is the cruelest month’. Now, I’m not saying that one of the most well regarded poets to work in the English language didn’t know what he was talking about, but I am saying that as usual I’m having a pretty cruel January, and I know for a fact I’m not the only one.

A few years back a part time lecturer at Cardiff University came up with a formula to predict the most miserable and depressing day of the year. Taking into account important factors such as weather (W), debt (D), and motivation (M), he came up with this easy to use equation.

1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA

By my reckoning the predicted date this year is Monday 25th January. So put that date in your diary. The questions is who do you side with? One of the greatest poets of the 20th century or a part time lecturer at the 26th best university in the UK with a doctorate, presumably, in stating the fucking obvious.

Well for me there’s no contest, of course January is the cruelest month. It’s the time when both the temperature and my bank balance are at a crippling low, all that ‘fresh start’, ‘carpe diem’, ‘be all you can be’ enthusiasm that the new year brings has evaporated, and at the age of 22 my body has started to let me down and is loosing the fight against the winter cold. I got tonsillitis on boxing day, which made my face and neck swell up like a fucking beach ball. Honestly, for a while it looked like someone had drawn my face onto a pink balloon in Sharpie marker. And finally, as a parting kick in the nuts we’re as far away from Christmas as it’s possible to be.

My friend Alex appropriately call Christmas and New Year ‘silly season’, well welcome everyone to ‘shitty season’ also known as January. When asked to choose between January and April, I choose April every time. Roll on April, that’s what I say. If I make it to April I’m going to throw a fucking party.

But as bad as the New Year Blues may be I’m not one to wallow, I’m a solutions man. So here are a few things that have lifted my spirits over the past few days and have forced a smile onto my depressed and swollen face. Maybe they’ll work for you to.

Listen to Elvis
He’s called The King for a reason guys. The voice, the jumpsuits, the soaring ballads. He wasn’t just a one in a million, he was one in a species. There will never be another Elvis and if you’ve not set aside some time to listen to his music then you’ve missed out on a key life experience.

There are some nice documentaries knocking around on the iPlayer at the moment about the King, and there’s more Elvis on Spotify than you can shake a stick at, so you’ve got no excuse.

As I cycled to work through snowy Dalston yesterday morning I had ‘In The Ghetto‘ playing in my head. Never has it’s been more appropriate - ‘as the snow flies’. But, by far and a way, the fast live band version of ‘Suspicious Minds’ is my favourite Elvis song ever.

If that didn’t cheer you up then you’re already dead.

Ride a bike
Yeah, I mentioned my bike earlier but I don’t think I stressed how good riding a bike makes you feel, especially in London. Even when it’s lashing down with snow and you can’t see where you’re going because the cold flakes are being whipped directly into your eyes there’s no better way to travel and nowhere I’d rather be.

First off there’s the freedom it allows you. You can go anywhere, anytime, for free. It’s also the fastest way to travel in a city. Without any special effort you fly past buses, taxis, and cars as they sit there waiting at lights and in jams. Then there are the health benefits. I’m not one to preach about health, but cycling does keep you fit and doing exercise encourages your pituitary gland to kick out endorphins, which are basically natural MDMA.

All in all, cycling is ace so if you’re feeling blue get on a bike and ride as fast as you can for as long as you can. I guarantee you’ll feel better after.

(If you’ve not got a bike, steal one. Apparently around 30 bikes are stolen ever day in London, so one more won’t make a difference.)

Watch The Hangover
I really wanted to hate The Hangover. I heard all the hype about the Mike Tyson’s cameo and hated it. I saw the posters on the side of buses and phone boxes and hated them. Then I saw the trailer, and guess what, I hated that too. But when Orange Wednesday came around and I’d seen everything else I reluctantly went with my housemates to see it, and you know what? I spent the first 15 minutes begrudgingly grinning, and the next hour and a half laughing - a lot. Even a cinema full of idiots laughing too loud and too hard at the wrong bits couldn’t spoil it for me.

It’s just a fun, silly, film that doesn’t take itself too seriously at lets you take your brain out of the equation. Zach Galifianakis is ace in it, Arrested Development fans can knowingly nod to each other when they see George Bluth Sr., and the little Chinese guy Leslie Chow is only on screen for about 5 minutes but provides two of the funniest film moments of ‘09.

Last night I watched it again, and I loved it. It’s better than Prozac.

Shoot a gun
You know you’re living in a civilised society when guns aren’t objects of fear and oppression but fun. In the UK 99.9% of us will never see a gun used properly (i.e. for murder) and that makes playing with one seem pretty fun. But hang on, I don’t suggest you get your hands on a real 9mm and then test it out. I’ve shot a real gun - an M16 - and I can tell you that is some scary shit. It’s loud, and I mean really loud, and it made me realise that guns do kill people. It’s their job and they do it really well.

Firing a real gun made come to terms with the fact that I’m not American and real guns just aren’t in my DNA. So what I’m suggesting is that you go for a pellet or BB gun. These are like the soft British versions of their more loud and dangerous American cousins. With these you get all the fun of shooting things but you’re safe in the knowledge that the largest thing you can kill is a pigeon or maybe a small dog.

We have a pellet gun in our office and whenever we’re feeling stressed out or miserable we reach for ‘gunny’ and let off a few rounds. It’s sure as hell more fun than a stress ball and it keeps me from smashing Bob Foster in the mouth with my keyboard because he’s not hit his deadline(s).

Here’s a video of us playing with our gun in the Platform warehouse.

I understand that you might not have access to a gun at home, but that’s ok. Just use your imagination and improvise; maybe do some ketamine and play Time Crisis II. But if you’re really stuck and you can’t get your hands on a firearm, virtual or otherwise, then watch this video of some jerks getting PWNED by their own guns.

So there they are, my suggestions on how to beat the New Year Blues. They worked for me (a bit), but Platform is a community guys - a big internet circle jerk - so if you have any other suggestions please post them below. Help out your neighbour and lend them a helping hand.