Is this as gloomy as it gets?

This week  has been nominated as the gloomiest of the year. Just before payday, when Christmas budgets have been overspent, the decorations long gone, and the icy chill of winter is full upon us. Does life it get any gloomier than this?

We've noticed the mood on the street is different from those far gone days when the Olympics brought a relaxed openness to Londoners. Presumably the same people who today are shrouded in heavy layers were the same who last August were positively skipping in the sunshine and greeting the world's visitors to the capital with gushing hospitality.

True, we had a bit of a lift with enough snow for mass snowball fights and snowmen-building last weekend. But now that's gone and we're left with a salty, slushy brown residue. It's the perfect image for the sluggishness and malaise that threatens to hold us in a chilly grip until Easter.

The budless trees suggest that nature is fast asleep and has taken the season off. You might like to follow suit - snuggle into a onesie with the TV remote and a big mug of something steaming, and a carb-rich diet to cheer you up about the diet-plan that never made it to the end of the first month of the year.

But how about going completely counter-cultural and doing something different?

Be social! We reckon that smiling to strangers, saying hello to people on public transport, having a positive conversation with someone at work who looks like they're living wholly inside their head and other social interaction are the best ways to come out of hibernation. Find someone to laugh with. If you can do it outside, all the better. Join something. Come to church and sing your heart out. If you're feeling really self-sacrificing, ask someone if they can show you those pictures of last year's holiday - the ones you weren't that bothered about at the time. Say "thank-you". And "please". And "sorry". Find an excuse to celebrate the community you live in. Ring someone up and tell them you've said a prayer for them (assuming you have). Wear bright colours. Buy flowers. Cook barbecue food and mix up a salad. Fly a kite. Bake a cake and share it.

Our church has a thousand clear glass windows, so we really feel that we're in the season when we worship. But with good heating, plenty of hot refreshments and a warm community spirit, we're going to do our bit to stave off the frostiness and gloom.