Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 584

6 13 J ANUARY 202 2 NEWS&VI EWS IN MY OPINION Fi Glover The Radio 4 journalist airs her views For most of us, life is on pause. We’re caught in this strange global aspic where our movements are restricted, our daily life has been wound back in, nothingmajor is happening. Unless you are having a baby. More than 50,000 babies have been born during this time of lockdown. Those new parents will now be in their own personal lockdown. Many have compared this period of restriction to those early weeks of parenthood. You can’t really leave the sofa, can’t focus on a bigger horizon, can’t concentrate, can snack. But you can still choose a resonant name for your baby. According to a poll of 2,000parents, almost half believe that the crisis will be reflected in popular baby names; seven per cent of newparents have alreadynamed their o spring after something linked to the pandemic. In come ‘virtue’ names such as Faith, Hope, Charity andPatience.More than half the new parents surveyed are considering ‘rainbow’ names. Is someone really about to name their childYellow? For the boys, the same kind of influences give you names such as Hero, Bravery andMaverick. I am reaching for a pinch of salt over that last one. I love the wordmaverick, but aren’t you giving your child a lifetime of insecurity should he turn out to be a well-behaved, rule-abidingman? Elements of this surveymademe laugh. One in five said they would consider a ‘secure’ name for their child as the crisis continues… like Haven or Harbour. Why not call your little darling ‘Social Distancing’ and be done with it? You could also do what Boris Johnson has done and give your child a name that honours someone who has helped during the pandemic – the Nicholas inWilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson pays tribute to two doctors who saw the PM through his own illness. And at number 15 in the baby name charts is Florence. The renewed interest is being attributed to the Nightingale Hospitals, but I would argue that it’s because of Florence Nightingale herself, otherwise surely we’d be seeing Southampton General in there too? But whatever name you choose, your baby will always be a sign of the times. In the case of the Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, his baby – born last week – is literally that. A sign. He and his partner, Canadianmusician Grimes, named their son ‘XÆA-12Musk’. When asked to explain the meaning, Grimes said it included references to the couple’s favourite aircraft, the SR-71, and the elven spelling of AI. I know. Hard to fathom, even in a pandemic. @fifiglover Fortunately…with Fi and Jane, and IN MY OPINION Anita Anand author and broadca er airs he s Dry January has come a long way since 2013, when 4,000 people took part. Last year a record 130,000 of us pledged to forgo booze for amonth. But could giving it up for more than four weeks persuade you to stay sober for good? That was the experience of alcohol-free life coach Karolina Rzadkowolska, author of Euphoric: An Eight-Week Plan to Ditch Alcohol and ReclaimYour Life. Four years ago, Karolina was a weekend drinker. After taking part in Dry January, she decided to examine her relationship with alcohol. “I’d Dry January drives a thirst for change More people are going beyond the first month of the year and quitting alcohol for good – Patsy Westcott looks at this growing trend wanted to take a break for some time, but there always seemed to be a social event that involved drinking and I was worried what people would say,” she recalls. “That month, I fell in love with how well I felt. My sleep improved, I was more energetic and experienced a new sense of fun. I tried new classes, made di erent friends and got outsidemy comfort zone.” She returned to drinking socially in February, but soon stopped for good: “Even one or two drinks loweredmy mood andmademe feel cranky and exhausted. I decided to take another break and haven’t looked back.” Karolina isn’t alone. “There’s been an increase in the appetite for alcoholfree drinks,” observes Nicola Bates, director of external a airs at the Portman Group, the UK’s social responsibility body and regulator for alcohol labelling, packaging and promotion. According to a newYouGov survey, consumption of NoLo (alcoholfree and low alcohol) products rose by more than a quarter in 2021 compared with the previous year. The likelihood of consumers opting new outlook Karolina Rzadkowolska (right); Ellie Webb, whose Caleño brand creates rum alternatives ( far right) Is it to early, or too late, to wish you a wretched Blue M nday – suppos dly themost mise able day of the ye r? If you’re r ading this on 17 Ja uary, then I’ve n iled the timi g perfectly, whichwould leaveme feeling dead inside. Perhaps I misse it a d you’ve already eate the la t of the Stilton and dabbed blue cu açao b hind your ears? Did you take the blue bunting d wn yet? Let’s be honest. You haven’t done any of these things be ause BlueMonday is ’t thing… it never w s a d it never will be, nomatter what the newspap rs insist. As I understand it, B ueMonday was a construct that some smarty pants trav l compa y came up with year ago i an attempt to get us to bookmore flights. In 2004, the company paid for research, which threw about numbers and symbols, linking them to depressing hi gs like how fat and skint we fel , and how cold and dark it was outside. Armed with this ‘d ta’, n ‘equation’ formed, which supposedly proved that the thirdMonday each Jan ary was themost depr ssing ay of the year. Waiting in the wings, the me travel compa y flung out press releases like p scriptions, and in 2005, we were told to fly and eek sun! The cure f r BlueMonday was a bo rding pass apparently. More companies jump d on board a d the ‘BlueMon ay Sale!’ wa bo n. We were urged to buy yachts, yogurts, yaks, basically anything to turn ur frowns upside down. Academics in the field ofmental ealthwere horrified, and have bee scathing about BlueMonday ever sinc . On ts website, TheMental HealthFoundation ch rity describe BlueMonday as: ‘A ra her tedi us yearly PR event, often de igned to promote thi gs that are vaguely linked to improving our wellbeing, more often hannot wi h a complete lack of evidence’. Last year, heNHS declared th t ‘#BlueMonday isn’t supported by any r al evidence’, but acknowledged tha the Ja u ry lockdown was ‘an esp cially di cultmonth formany’. Despite spirit d e orts fromacademics and i stituti s, Bl eMond y bubbles ike pustule in a time of plague. The Samaritans tried to rebr nd it as ‘BrewMonday’ – a day o have a chat about troubling things. It’s w ll-meaning of course, but doesn’t t perpet ate the original sin?Maybe there’s no way o crushing the construct ow. Either way, Janu ry can be hard, especially these days. Shame on those whomonetisemisery. Fi Glover is away. anitaanand.net; @tweeter_anita ‘Academics in the field of mental health were horrified, and have been scathing about it ever since’