Today is apparently ‘Blue Monday’, that one day of the year that feels most gloomy and leaves us in need of a chocolate hit alongside a marathon of Gilmore Girls. (Yes, I’ve finally jumped on that bandwagon.) The festive season is a distant memory, we’re starting to feel the pinch of that early December paypacket, looking out the window we’re met with a gloomy landscape and our resolutions have already been discarded alongside that yoga mat and exercise ball. It’s easy to feel like you’re in a never-ending slump, but you can pick yourself up without flitting off to an exotic location or winning the lottery. In my opinion, it’s all about your outlook and how you use this ‘down time’ to your advantage – so you can kick the rest of 2017’s butt all the way to fabulousness.
READ A MOTIVATIONAL BOOK
I’m all over the motivational literature at the moment, having just read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k and recommended it to all my friends. (More on that later.) There’s something about using those cold dark nights to find your inner #GirlBoss
(also a great read) that’s incredibly rewarding, both in the immediate and long-term. While you’re constrained by rain, an empty purse and the lack of motivation to walk any further than to the fridge, use it to plot our world domination and take inspiration from those that have gone before you. This will be your year – so snuggle up and start planning.
CUDDLE UP WITH A BLANKET
The texture of a fluffy warm blanket is incredibly comforting and nostalgic, transporting us back to those safe childhood memories and making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m a firm believer in the benefit a great blanket can bring – so much so I have about ten scattered around my flat for when the need arises. Seeing as the hygge trend isn’t going anywhere fast, the chilly evenings provide the perfect excuse for wrapping up and sipping on a cup of tea (perhaps with that aforementioned book.)
BREATHE IN THE FRESH AIR
It’s easy to spend our January days wrapped up against the world, but sometimes the benefit of breathing in the fresh air can be overlooked. Wandering amongst nature is good for the soul (and the body,) so as soon as the rain finishes why not pop on your wellies and go for a country stroll. It doesn’t have to be far, but breathing deeply and absorbing new surroundings will leave you feeling invigorated – as well as much more appreciative of your home comforts when you walk through the door.
BAG YOURSELF A BARGAIN
Have you noticed that the sales are never-ending this year? Every time I pop into town there are more discounts and even more bargains to be had, as retailers do everything they can to shift their unwanted stock. It’s the perfect time to bag yourself a super bargain for only a few quid; whether you want to stock up on cosy jumpers to see out the winter or start planning your summer wardrobe, there are some unmissable offers that won’t break the bank. If you’ve got leftover vouchers or gift cards that need spending, even better: not a penny of your own cash will see the light of day! It’s amazing what a new sweater can do for a woman.
GET PLANNING HOLIDAYS
Wishing you were somewhere else? Make that a reality by getting yourself on Pinterest to Wanderlust your way into next season. There’s nothing better to cheer yourself up than something to look forward to, so start doing your research and plan your dream trips for the year ahead. By booking in advance you can get some fantastic deals, while airlines such as Virgin are still offering super-affordably flights to the most exotic of locations. If you need inspiration, pop by your local travel agent and pick up some brochures to flick through over a Starbucks; most allow you to put down a small deposit and pay the balance off over the coming months, so you don’t have to even wait until payday.
PICK UP A NEW HOBBY
With all these free evenings and weekends (is it just my friends that have gone into hibernation?) it’s time to start something new and pick up a hobby. Whether you’ve been meaning to get into cross-stitch, re-kindle your love of stamp collecting, dabble in watercolours, become an expert baker or learn how to make your own clothes, a trip to Hobbycraft may be just what you need. For me it’s calligraphy; I received a starter pack for Christmas and have been spending those rainy evenings practicing my skills, which is incredibly relaxing and a welcome break from Netflix. The feeling of accomplishment leaves me wanting to get even more crafty, and all I need is a piece of paper.
COOK THOSE HEARTY MEALS
I’m loathe to switch up my usual routine for a plate of leaves, just because it’s apparently detox season, but the onset of gloomy days and vacant diaries does mean I have more time to prep for hearty and delicious meals. Right now I’m obsessed with stews, vegetable pots and everything that involves little more skill than chucking it all in a bowl and leaving to simmer for a couple of hours; the result is delicious, filling and good for you, plus the process fills time that would otherwise be spent eating cakes. Talking of which, baking is a great way to experiment and find better ways of making your favourites; try swapping in ingredients for superfoods or more natural alternatives and see what you can come up with.
CATCH UP WITH A MATE
Don’t underestimate the power of a good natter over a cup of coffee. You don’t have to book an expensive dinner or have a night out on the town, but spending time with those important to you will help to lift you up and leave you feeling ready to tackle the week ahead. Why not plan some mini trips or days out for the coming months so you have something to look forward to, or write a list of museums and exhibits you’d love to see? Filling your diary is not only satisfying, but it gives you a goal and occasion to look towards – rather than staring at blank pages and wishing summer would come around already.
Above all, don’t let January defeat you. It may all feel doom and gloom right now, but amazing things are around the corner so now is the time to plan for them.
2017 will be what you make of it, so make it a blooming good one.
What helps to refresh your mind and get you through the colder months with ease?