This morning on the radio I heard that “Blue Monday” this year is Monday 21 January and apparently it is the “worst day of the year”. Scientifically proven, with all sorts of equations and mathematical calculations, it’s a combination of the post Christmas low, the guilt following having eaten, drank, and spent to much in December, the cold and dreary weather, the reality that summer is months away, payday is weeks away…. and all in all it feels like a really good time to be a hedgehog and go to sleep til March.
If you are feeling any of this, I’m most definitely with you. It’s a tough time of year, and if one more person asks me if I’m doing ‘Dry January’, I might have to give them a less than friendly response. I’m not giving up drinking this January, I’m not dieting or doing anything else that involves making this time of year any worse than it already is.
I do appreciate that many people respond to ‘New Year /New You’ challenges, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them, and when I usually lapse after a while, the sense of failure just makes me feel worse.
So .. here are my 50 tips to try and blow out the January blues and feel good.. and I guarantee you don’t have to give up a thing!
*Please note this is a light hearted post and in no way is offered as advice to anyone who is depressed or who is thinking of harming themselves. If you do feel like this, please see your GP as soon as possible; they really can help.*
1. Instead of cutting out alcohol completely, consider cutting back on the amount you drink. A few glasses of wine a week are good for you in moderation. Red wine, in particular, has lots of healthy benefits.
2. Don’t feel pressured to do the traditional ‘detoxing’. According to medical advice, our bodies detox themselves quite happily all day, every day without any additional help. Although I absolutely promote more fresh veg, less meat and sugar, there is no need to drastically change your eating habits. Cut back on the unhealthy stuff if you can, and if you have boxes of biscuits and chocolate leftover from Christmas, take them to work (where they will disappear within an hour!)
3. ‘Spring Clean’. OK, maybe call it ‘Winter Clean,’ but target a room a week; declutter, tidy and give any unwanted items to charity.
4. Sort out your airing cupboard. This might sound crazy, but I completely cleared out my airing cupboard last week, reorganised and tidied it… and felt like a million dollars for the rest of the day!
5. Make some lovely home cooked meals from scratch. I’m going to attempt my Dads’ Chicken Pot Pie at the weekend.
6. Comfort food does not have to be just naughty chocolate and crisps. Hot soups and crusty bread are a lovely meal this time of year, and not necessarily unhealthy.
7. Eat hot toasted crumpets. Because everyone should.
8. If you have got into a bit (or a lot) of debt following Christmas, make a list of all your ingoings and outgoings. It’s very therapeutic and may make you think before you spend.
9. When shopping, spend cash only. It’s far harder handing over a wad of notes than it is a bit of plastic.
10. Take walks along the beach or woodland and pick up litter/ plastic. It is such a feel good thing to do. Not only are you exercising, but you are also helping the environment.
11. Go swimming. Swimming is the most weight bearing exercise and you will love it once you are in the water.
12. Treat yourself to a new haircut/ style/colour.
13. Have a big clear out of your wardrobe and give to charity what you have not worn for over a year.
14. Don’t get too caught up in the sales. By this stage, a lot of what is left is the stuff that no one else wants. Save the money instead for new styles coming out for the spring.
15. Book a summer holiday and put a count down app on your phone.
16. Arrange a weekend trip to London, York, Bath, Stratford ….bed and breakfast is usually quite reasonable this time of year.
17. If you can’t afford a weekend, arrange a day trip.
18. Visit one of the big makeup stores (like Charlotte Tilbury) and book a makeover. One of the artists will offer a makeover demonstration and usually there is no charge, or if there is, it is redeemable against products you may buy.
19. Take a dog for a walk – borrow one if you don’t have one!
20. Make a luxurious cake from a scratch.
21. Change your living room around. Move the couch, tables, television etc. Add some new lighting or an inexpensive ornament and… Voila! You have a new living space!
22. Visit a museum. I keep meaning to go to Sea City in Southampton!
23. Buy some inexpensive dried flowers from a store like The Range and arrange a bright new display for your living room.
24. The Christmas decorations may have been put away, but fairy lights are a lovely way to light a living space during winter evenings.
25. Light / use scented candles.
26. Organise a date night with your partner.
27. Make a dinner special even if you are staying in. Candlelight, a special recipe and a beautifully set table go a long way!
28. Visit a donkey sanctuary. Nothing can cheer you up like a seeing/stroking a donkey. Such beautiful animals. I’m aiming to go to the one in Sidmouth next month.
29. If you are home alone, put your favourite music on and dance your way around the house.
30. Leave food out for hedgehogs, birds and squirrels and watch their antics from the house. I can lose hours doing this!
31. Have a clear out of your knicker drawer and buy some nice new lingerie.
32. Go to the cinema. If it’s a good film, you will forget everything.. and be totally engrossed for an hour or two.
33. Redecorate a room. Make it a small one to start with .. but your sense of achievement will be massive!
34. Sign yourself up for a run/race later in the year. Something like the Walk for Life or The Great South Run will motivate you to get fitter over next few months.
35. Curl up with a animal. I particularly like cuddling up with my cats.. their love is unconditional and we can learn a lot from them about relaxation.
36. Start saving spare change in a jar. By the summer you will have enough to by a new top, new outfit, hair cut, even a weekend away.
37. Visit a local castle … and consider winters in medieval times, we really are very lucky in our centrally heated houses.
38. Count your blessings. Make a Gratitude List.
39. Book a spa day with a friend.
40. Get outside as much as possible. Daylight really does make us feel better.
41. Lose yourself in a really good book.
42. Leave your work desk at lunchtime and go out for a walk.
43. Think of January as just another month … we are on the way to Spring!
44. Exercise as much as you can in a way that you enjoy. Anything that gets your heart rate going is going to be beneficial.
45. Try something new. New classes are starting at your local Adult Education College. Sign up for one. I’m considering yoga…..
46. Indulge in a luxury hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and cosy up in your favourite jumper. Make the most of the season that we are in! You can’t really do that in August- right?
47. Take extra Vitamin D and/or multi vitamins and minerals.
48. Consider your plans/obligations for the the next 24 hours only. You don’t have to worry about the next week, month or year. That will all take care of itself.
49. List all your achievements for the last year and remind yourself how far you have come.
50. And finally…. give yourself a break. Accept that this is a difficult month for a lot of people, but that Spring and a period of new life and regrowth is on its way. There are exciting times to come. Hold on, we are almost out of the dark. ❤️