It’s cold and wet, our bank accounts are looking on the thin side after Christmas, and the days are still so short we might barely see daylight.
We get it: January can get you down. For those of us unable to jet off to the white sandy beaches of our daydreams, we’ve pulled together these tips to bring some sunshine into your life.
1. Catch Up With Your Friends
After spending the holidays hauling everyone to all the obligatory family visits, a social catch up with your friends is just the ticket to brighten your mood. Grab those friends you always seem to be “we must catch up soon”-ing and pencil in an actual date to organise you both. Laughter, good company, and some delicious gins are just the tonic for those pesky blues - why not organise your own gin tasting?!
2. Reflect On Your Year
Most of us are so busy rushing through life we rarely take the time to acknowledge what we have. Take the time to think back on the past year; be proud of your successes (however small!) and appreciate the things you've experienced - whether an amazing holiday, finally seeing a musician you've always liked, a lovely afternoon with your family, or the fantastic different gins you've tried!
3. Make Time In The Kitchen
When the temperature drops outside, nothing touches the soul like a warm kitchen. The smell of warm pie wafting through the house will bring a smile to any gloomy face, and a hearty soup or stew will warm you right up. Check out the blog for plenty of kitchen ginspiration!
Yep, we've heard it a million times, and when you're snug on your couch on your third hour of Netflix the last thing you want to do is brave the cold and move at faster than a sloth-like pace. But that rush of mood boosting endorphins are our body's natural pain relievers - add in the dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin release, and there's no denying that exercise is the key to turning that frown upside down.
Don't feel pressured to take up that expensive gym membership you use three time every January before cancelling mid-March (because if I pay for it i'll go, right?) Find something you enjoy, whether rock climbing, cycling or yoga, and try and get a friend to join in with you so you can hold each other responsible. Even using your lunch to go for a walk outside instead of sitting at a desk will have a positive effect, and as a bonus, up those all-so-important vitamin D levels we lack in the winter for more mood boosting.
5. Swap your Resolutions for Challenges
There's nothing more depressing than that third week in January when all our optimistic resolutions have hit the pan, taking our self esteem with them. Rather than setting yourself up to fail with unrealistic goals, set yourself a challenge to complete by the end of the year. It's been noted that as we grow older we lose our ability to do things just for fun - use the New Year as an opportunity to do things "just because". Challenging yourself to something fun is a far more positive way to set goals, and means you'll be less likely to give up. Whether it's to listen to a new album a week, read 20 books, or try 10 new craft gins, you're sure to enjoy the challenge!
6. Be Prepared
January is a struggle; make those cold mornings and gloomy days as easy for yourself as you can. Meal prepping on a Sunday for the week ahead is a great way to stop you reaching for the takeaway menu when you're tired after work, and something as simple as prepping your coffee maker or getting your clothes together the night before can make it a little easier to sleepwalk through the morning. As the boy scouts say: Always Be Prepared, and for us that means making sure we've got our favourite mixers stocked up - no one wants to go back into the cold when a well earned G&T is needed!
7. Help Others
It's scientifically proven that by helping others we also help ourselves, and there's no better time than when the January gloom and doom is hitting us all. Get involved with a community project or a charity, or do small unplanned acts of kindness - surprise someone with their favourite bottle of gin! Helping others gives a us a sense of connection and create strong community, not to mention the self esteem boost and sense of meaning it gives us. Don't feel it's all money money money; time, ideas and attention are just as valuable and sometimes more meaningful.
8. Drink Gin
Why make yourself more miserable by depriving yourself of something you love? Hats off to those of you embarking on your dry January challenge, but for the rest of us, there's not much a well crafted G&T can't soothe. Cheers to that!