The third Monday of January is officially the gloomiest day of the year. Read on for our top ways to beat the peak of the January comedown.

The third Monday of January is the year's emotional low point for many: the parties of Christmas and New Year are over; your social highlight is a gossip by the office coffee machine; you're utterly broke and payday seems an age away; the weather is rubbish and you've already broken your New Year resolutions. The outlook is bleak.

What you need is a little travel inspiration to take the edge off those extra-intense Monday blues. Here are our top five ways to perk yourself up:

1. Find some winter sun

If you're feeling lethargic or like you just want to go into hibernation, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the most common form of which is known as winter depression. Fortunately it's easily fixed and the most effective treatment is getting more sun. In our book, that makes a winter sun break a medical necessity! Snap up a cheap last minute deal to the Canary Islands or Egypt. January is also the best time to visit Thailand, India, South Africa and the Caribbean.

2. Pamper yourself

After all those seasonal indulgences, you're probably feeling sluggish, dull, grey and completely unmotivated. Kick start your system and get your New Year's resolutions back on track with a spot of pampering. Most spa centres are offering all kind of detox deals at the moment so jump on the ‘New Year, new you' bandwagon and book yourself in for a detoxifying massage, fat-loss wrap and invigorating body brush. has plenty of January-themed special offers.

3. Plan your summer holiday

Book a summer holiday so you've got something to look forward to. For a little extra peace of mind, book with Thomson or First Choice who have introduced redundancy cover; get a full refund on your holiday up to one month before departure if you are made redundant. The offer is valid on bookings made before 31 January on their branded summer 2009 package holidays. This is in addition to the protection offered by ATOL, which protects you if your tour operator goes bust.

4. Embrace the winter

Winter can be a beautiful thing. Embrace it and book yourself a holiday cottage in the UK. January is off peak so prices are low but the countryside is just as beautiful as the peak summer months. You just need to alter your expectations. Think wild, windswept moors, stormy seas or snug country pubs. Add to that cosy log fires, comfy sofas and filling your lungs with fresh, cool air and you get the idea.

5. Get some exercise

Force yourself outside and get your heart pumping. Exercise is another highly effective way to beat SAD. If you can't quite get the motivation to do it by yourself, consider going on an activity holiday either in the UK or abroad. Skiing is the ultimate winter activity but if that's not your thing there are plenty of exciting alternatives. How about a trek up Mount Kilmanjaro, cycling the Atlas Mountains or a ranching holiday in America or Argentina? Closer to home, Activity Wales does year-round white-water rafting adventures in North Wales.

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