>Today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year.
It's dark, it's cold, all the festivities are over and our bank accounts are suffering for it. Now it's just a long wait until the gradual arrival of spring.
It's no wonder the Monday of the last full week in January is labelled “Blue Monday” - a decidedly unscientific calculation based on weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions (if you've stuck to them, you're one of few!) and low motivation.
Based on lots of theory and little fact, most people say it's just a load of “pseudoscience” - but there's definitely a chill in the air this morning.
Whether or not you're a believer in Blue Monday, there are lots of reasons to be cheerful about the year ahead. Here are some of our top ones.
London is now the best city in the world for property investment
If you own a property in London, you're doing well – it has overtaken New York as the best investment prospect and there is now no better place to buy real estate in the world.
The Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate carried out a survey, the results of which were released earlier this month. Nearly a quarter of the points awarded to a range of worldwide cities went to London in 2013, with New York in second place with just over 20 per cent.
The future is bright for small business growth
Last year, 41 per cent of the UK's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) experienced an increase in turnover, while turnover remained steady for 34 per cent.
SMEs also created more jobs – 21 per cent of SME owners said they took on more staff in 2014, while four per cent took on staff for the first time. This equated to 200,000 new jobs.
The results, released by brokerage advisory firm LV=Broker, revealed an increase in profits for most small business owners during the period.
We will have more pocket money this year
Thanks to speedy UK economic growth, Britons could have up to four per cent more income at their disposal by the time January 2016 arrives.
The prediction was made by the EY Item Club, which said that economic growth in the UK could reach its fastest rate since 2008 this year, driven by falling oil prices and delayed interest rate rises.
Pay for new City recruits is higher
New salaries in London's financial services sector went up significantly in 2014, as demand for skilled workers increased, particularly in the IT sectors.
On average, those offered new jobs in the City secured pay 18 per cent higher than in the previous year, and the trend is set to continue in 2015 according to data released today by Morgan McKinley.
Our energy bills are going down
Last week, E.On became the first of the big UK energy firms to agree to cut its gas tariff with immediate effect. The government has been placing pressure on the firms to make their prices reflect an overall drop in wholesale energy prices, which are currently 30 per cent lower than this time last year.
Now, British Gas owner Centrica has joined in – this morning it slashed household gas prices by five per cent. The company said the cut will reduce average household energy bills by £37, benefitting 6.8m customers.
Lighter mornings and lighter evenings
We passed the Winter Solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year – back in December. Now, days are getting progressively longer and nights progressively shorter.
Soon, we won't be arriving at work before the sun rises and leaving work after it sets, which means we will actually get to see some sunlight. Hooray!
We now have a whole year to go before the next Blue Monday
Cheer up – if you're one of few who believes today really is the most depressing day of the year, from tomorrow you'll have a whole year to go before it comes around again.