• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Seven Italian ways to beat the saddest day of the year
Top tips on beating Blue Monday: Italian style. Photo: Toni Birrier/Flicker

Seven Italian ways to beat the saddest day of the year

The Local · 18 Jan 2016, 13:45

Published: 18 Jan 2016 13:45 GMT+01:00

Whether you believe in Blue Monday or not (the science behind it is dodgy), January can be a depressing time. Cold weather, scant money due to Christmas spending, and a string of already broken New Year's resolutions all leave you feeling hopeless.

But fear not.

While Italy is nowhere near the happiest country in the world (in fact, it ranks just 51th in the "happy" index by the New Economics Foundation) the country, with its myriad of endearing qualities and quirks, can still lift your spirits if you find yourself in a miserable rut.

Here's how:

Take a passeggiata (walk)


An old man heads off for a healthy passeggiata. Photo: Simon Collison / Flickr

The traditional afternoon stroll taken in Italy before dinner is a big happiness win. To make your you get the maximum happiness-boost from your stroll – head to the park, whatever the weather.

A 2010 study by the University of Essex showed that even five minutes of light exercise carried out in a natural setting was enough to significantly enhance your mood.

Plan your next Italian getaway


Planning a rip to Vernazza could banish the blues. Photo: Daniel Stockman/Flickr

Thinking of a trip to Italy this year, or planning more trips within it? January is the time to plan.

Planning holidays gives you a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. In fact, just looking at that sunny picture of an Italian seaside town is probably making you feel better.

Just think, in a few months time you could easily be relaxing on that very beach pictured above; reading a good book, the scent of sun cream wafting in your nostrils and the sound of the waves filling your ears.

It might sound daft, but researchers from Holland who studied the effect of holidays on reported levels of happiness showed that people reported a greater improvement in their happiness levels when they were preparing their trip than while they were actually basking in the sun.

Have an aperitivo with a friend


Photo: Paturo/Flickr

The aperitivo: one of Italy's noblest traditions – and one which has been helping Italians beat the blues for over a hundred years.

Bars across the country fill up between 6pm and 9pm as friends head out for something to drink and a nibble. No aperitivo culture where you live? No Problem. Just make time to go and grab a post-work drink with an old friend and catch up.

Happy people worldwide do this a lot – numerous studies have shown that the key component of happiness is strong social relationships. So why not work on yours over an Italian-style aperitivo?

Take in a museum


Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo could cheer you up. Photo: Denis Jarvis/Flickr

Italy has a lot of art, a lot of history and a huge number of cultural sites, including a whopping 51 Unesco world heritage sites that you have probably never heard of, let alone visited.

Last year, a record number of 43 million people visited Italy's cultural sites, perhaps down to the the powerful effect cultural sites can have on our well-being.

Museums and art galleries help stop you dwelling, providing you with new experiences, new points of view and fresh inspiration – all of which will make you happier.

You just need make the time to visit them.

Eat a pizza


Life would be miserable without pizza. Pic: Jeffery /Fickr

Money can't buy you happiness – but for a few euros you can get an excellent pizza.

There is a definite connection between food and happiness – and with its hot, crispy base and melted cheese topping, pizza is an indulgent, calorific treat that is the perfect comfort food. You can treat yourself to a double dose of happiness by getting a pizza with a friend.

Still sticking to your new year's diet and don't want to eat a pizza? Then, why not try drawing one...a 2013 study showed that the idea of pizza and happiness were so closely connected that even the act of sketching a pizza led people to feel better about life. It might be worth a try.

Story continues below…

Cook something simple


Wei Duan Woo/Flickr

You don't have to eat out to eat happily. If, like many people, the very idea of coming home from work and preparing food makes you grimace, perhaps you just need some Italian inspiration.

Italian food is delicious and for the most part, simple to make. Anyone can rustle up a delicious plate of spaghetti alla carbonara – and they will be happier for it too.

Cooking helps us develop new skills and is also therapeutic, as it focuses our attention away from our January blues and gives us a sense of achievement: even if it sometimes feels like a chore before you begin.

Prosecco


Photo: Marite Toldeo/Flickr

The world's most popular sparkling wine could be the perfect accompaniment to quite a few of the activities on this list.

But if all else fails and you're still feeling glum, shut yourself away with the best bottle you can afford and remind yourself: Blue Monday only comes around once each year. Bottoms up!  

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Britain has voted to leave the European Union, and many if not most British expats in Italy are deeply concerned. But there are a few silver linings...perhaps.

Italy, US and Colombia bust massive drug trafficking ring
Franco Roberti, Italy's anti-mafia and anti-terror chief, will be at the press conference in Rome at midday. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Thirty-three drug traffickers have been arrested and large quantities of cocaine seized as part of the investigation between Italy, America and Colombia.

How and why Italy's cannabis laws could soon change
Italy's parliament will begin debating new cannabis laws next month. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP

In July, Italy's parliament will begin debating historic changes to cannabis laws that could see the drug legalized.

At least 10 dead on sinking migrant boat: coastguard
At least 10 people have died in the latest Mediterranean disaster. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

107 people were rescued.

Praying Moroccans spark bomb alert on flight to Rome
The plane was forced to turn back to Ancona. Photo: Elliott Brown

This is the latest in a series of flight disruptions in recent months because of fears over passengers “looking suspicious”.

Italy to remove corpses from salvaged migrant boat
Some 800 people died in the 2015 tragedy. Photo: Marina Militare

The sinking left around 800 dead - but they will now get proper burials.

Italy ready for German 'Everest': Florenzi
Italy's midfielder Alessandro Florenzi (L), Italy's forward Ciro Immobile (C) and Italy's forward Lorenzo Insigne arrive for a press conference in Montpellier. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

"We've already climbed some mountains here and now we're facing Everest."

Italian spouses 'faked break-up to cash in on benefits'
File photo: foooomio/Flickr

Italy's finance police tracked the couple using hidden cameras.

Lidl and Bertolli fined €550k for fake 'extra virgin' olive oil
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr

The fines for misleading branding were recently hiked in Italy's ongoing battle to protect its oils.

Two-year-old hospitalized after being raised vegan
File photo: Joe Radele/AFP/Getty Images

The toddler spent several days in intensive care where she was treated for health complications thought to be caused by her parents' vegan diet.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Culture
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Travel
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
National
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Health
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Travel
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
National
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Politics
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Travel
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Politics
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
National
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Culture
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
2,526
jobs available