Today's the day to beat the blues with silly stories, films and Steve
Today is Blue Monday – supposedly the most miserable day of the year.
Researchers claim the nation's collective well-being will sink to an all-year low and people will be looking for ways over the next few days and weeks to cheer themselves up.
Blue Monday occurs thanks to a combination of bad weather, debt, the need for Christmas detox and poor motivation.
To help lift moods across the county, the Mercury is running a bumper collection of funnies by regular Mercury joker Steve Birch, 63, of Coalville.
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And Leicestershire County Council is hoping to counter those negative vibes by promoting "mood-boosting" books at its libraries, in conjunction with the Reading Agency.
Examples of mood-lifting texts – suggested by library customers – include Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, and Frank Cottrell Boyce's Millions, which was made into a film by Danny Boyle.
To suggest mood-boosting books, e-mail:
or post a comment on Twitter using the hashtag #moodboosting.
In the meantime, here are some of Steve's jokes to amuse you and your friends:
Had to sell my parrot as he was getting too fat. But in a way it's as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
Started my new job today. I can't believe how friendly folks are to us bus drivers – when I drive past them they all wave like mad!
Been looking through the A-Z of Greek islands for a holiday this year. In desperation I chose Zacynthus – it was the last resort.
Was in the doctor's today and I met an old mate. He'd got custard all down his shirt, baked beans in his ear, gravy down his tie and rice pudding all down his trousers.
I said: "What's the matter with you, Jim?"
He said: "I'm not eating properly."
I stood in the park, wondering: "How come the nearer a frisbee gets the bigger it looks? And then it hit me!"