Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Beating The January Blues

I'm on a bit of a post-Christmas comedown, if I'm honest, and I'm guessing a lot of you might be too. The tree's been taken down, all the chocolates have been eaten, presents have been put away and, well, it just feels a little depressing that it's all over for another year. The start of a new year always seems fresh and exciting to begin with but, once we're back to the same daily routine, everything just seems to slip back to normality pretty quickly. Here's a couple of things I'll be doing to try and cheer myself up and shake off those January blues...

The beginning of a new year seems to signify a clean state - a new you - but, for me, I just see it as the end of Christmas and 'back to reality'. 
I absolutely loved the Christmas holidays this year. I think this was mainly because I'd just started a full time job in September, so this was my first week off since I started and I just really appreciated the time off. Having a lie-in every morning, rarely getting dressed, eating lots of carbs & chocolate, spending far too much money in the sales and having lots of time with family and friends pretty much sums up what I got up to - and I loved every minute of it. 
Now that's over, everything just seems a bit bleak. The weathers still cold and miserable, I don't really have many upcoming plans and I probably won't have another week off work for a good few months - it's hard to feel upbeat when you look at it like that!
However, I know that unless I start to actually try and make myself happy and pull out some positives, then I'm bound to feel down in the dumps 24/7. I've put a quick list together of little things you can do to try and perk yourself up when those blues start to kick in...

1) Go for a walk
As I work full time, this is something that will probably be done on weekends. Before Christmas, my boyfriend and I got into a routine of going for a walk on a Sunday. We only walked locally, for about 45 minutes, but it just felt really good to get out of the flat and be out in the open air. I love going for walks as there's not really an aim to what you're doing, you're not necessarily walking anywhere in particular. We just walk in one big circle, following a greenway then coming back through some fields, past a canal, but the views are pretty and it just feels really calming. It also burns a decent amount of calories too if you walk at a brisk pace. I use the Map My Run app (even though I'm definitely not running) to track my progress and I usually walk about 3 miles on a Sunday, in 40 minutes, which burns about 150 calories - not bad for something that's actually enjoyable. I've also noticed how pleasant other people are on walks. Nearly everyone we walk past always says 'hi' or smiles so it must be something that a lot of other people enjoy as much as I do!

2) Read a book
One of my resolutions, this year, is to read more. I used to love reading when I was younger, rushing out to buy the latest Jacqueline Wilson book as soon as I could! But, since I've got older, I've barely read other than for educational purposes and when I go on holiday - because what else is there to do when you're sunning yourself up on the beach? So I bought three new books at the weekend and started one last night. My aim is to read one a week. Curling up with a good book is such a good feeling as, if you really get into it, you can completely shut yourself off from the world and just get completely lost in an alternative reality. I spend far too many wasted hours on the internet not really doing anything so I'm hoping reading will fill the gap and make me feel like my spare time's been spent a bit better. If you're not into books, then flicking through a magazine could be a nice little escape from everyday life, too.

3) Bake/cook something
I really love baking and when I got lots of lovely comments on my last baking post, (festive chocolate orange cupcakes, you can check out here) it pushed me to try and bake a lot more. Baking doesn't have to be hard or time-consuming dependant on what you want to make. Cupcakes require really simple ingredients and only take about 15 minutes to make and a further 20 to bake and they taste delicious! Although, I do like to spend time icing my cakes and making them look pretty just because it's fun (and looks good on Instagram.) Overall, I just find baking quite therapeutic, with a tasty end result, but I know it's not for everyone! Alternatively, cooking is always a great way to pass time and will also leave you feeling really satisfied when you've managed to make a tasty meal from scratch. My fave easy dishes to cook are risotto and soup. 

4) Treat yourself
January is a bit of a tight month for most people as we've all probably spent a bit too much over Christmas and have a long wait until the next payday. I think I spent most of my wage before December even ended so January is going to involve lots of packed lunches, weekends in the flat and no online shopping. But nothing perks me up more than treating myself to a little something; whether it's a new lipstick, an item of clothing, a notebook or even a nice hot chocolate on a cold day! It doesn't really matter how much it costs, but when I've been restricting my spending, then any kind of treat - no matter how big or small - is always a sure fire way to put a smile on my face. 

5) Watch your favourite film
My favourite film is Titanic so this probably doesn't work very well here as I'm left teary-eyed and questioning why Jack had to die (sob) after putting myself through 3 and a half hours of this. But a little more light-hearted film I love, which even just thinking about puts a smile on my face, is The Sweetest Thing with Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate. It may only have 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and be completely ridiculous but it's hilarious and I don't think I could possibly be in a bad mood after watching it! It involves a movie montage, countless innuendos, lots of singing, a wedding and some seriously cringe-worthy scenes - if you haven't seen it, you need to! So maybe pick one of your favourite films if, like me, your all time favourite isn't the most cheeriest of movies and just sit back and enjoy it, even if you have seen it 50 times before.

6) Have a duvet day
January is all about making things happen and kick-starting that healthy lifestyle for many people but, sometimes, you just can't beat a day of doing absolutely nothing. Don't get up until at least 10am, have breakfast in bed, binge on Netflix series, watch some films, drink lots of tea and stay in your pyjamas all day. Bliss. 

Do you have any tips on cheering yourself up? Send me any posts you have on coping with the January blues - I'd love to read them :)

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  1. I started reading before bed every night a few months ago to make a change from the huge amount of dry dissertation reading I had to do, and not only do I actually enjoy the reading but I also sleep far better than I ever have before :) It's such a small change that makes an enormous difference!
    Great ideas!


  2. Hi Beth! I'm so glad you directed me to your blog on your comment! I love it :D (I get really excited when I find a new blog I love) This post is so good, I also get a bit down in January, it doesn't help that the weather is always so grey and miserable. You're right, it is so important to make a real effort not to fall into the pit of January blues. I love the idea of going for a walk every week, just getting out the house and having some fresh air can do wonders! I can't wait to explore your older posts! (P.s. I love your hair!)

    Love Sass xxx


  3. Loved reading this. I think today is going to be a duvet day for me :)

    Emily x


  4. I love baking too, just gives you something to do when you're bored doesn't it- plus who doesn't like cake?! Duvet days on the sofa watching films are also a great mood booster too, brilliant post:)


  5. I've got back into reading this month! Love this post its very true!

    Now for the rain to stop so I can go on a lovely crisp winter walk!



  6. January can be so grim, hope you're feeling a bit better now! I'm sure this post will help a lot of people, they're good tips to remember throughout the year too. I always find a good book cheers me up x

    Josie’s Journal

  7. I too am feeling the post Christmas blues. All the build up for the holidays has just deflated now, so I'm feeling quite crappy. All the things you listed is definitely things I do to help cheer me up. Along with a nice bubble bath and browsing through new and cool blogs like yours. My favorite pick me up movies would be Bridget Jones (classic), Harry Potter(any of ALL of them.. yep), Back to the Future, or any pixar movies :)

  8. Hi, I loved this post! During winter break I made a commitment to myself - to walk at least an hour a day. I took my dog out for a long, long walk, and it always made me feel good! But now that I have to go back to school, I don't have that much time, which breaks my heart haha! Do you have any book recommendations?

    Go Prada Yourself.

    1. Thank you - glad you enjoyed it! :) I'm trying to read a book a week at the moment so will be posting reviews every Sunday so keep an eye out! I'm currently reading The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer which is really really good though :) xx


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