Surround yourself with friends
Forget Blue Monday – why not throw yourself into the alternative on January 15th and celebrate Brew Monday instead? As the name suggests, you can brighten this otherwise mediocre Monday by using it as the perfect excuse to have a cuppa and a good catch up with someone. Whether it’s your neighbour, a friend, relative, colleague, or even a parent you see on the school run, take time out to sit down and check in with someone. You could go bigger by hosting a fun tea party for a group of people and raise money for a charity while you’re at it.
Working all day and not sure how you’ll find time? Meet someone in a café on your lunch break or have a video chat, with brew in hand. Sometimes just seeing a friendly face and having a natter can lift you out of any doom and gloom; plus, you might not realise how much the other person needs it too.
Have a plan
Sometimes the reality of how much you spent in the lead up to and over Christmas, plus a longer month wating to be paid can be the cause of worry in January. Add to that rising energy bills and anxiety over the cost of living, it’s little wonder you just want to hide under your duvet hoping it will all go away.
It can seem overwhelming, but experts suggest the best thing is to get a plan in place and tackle one small thing at a time. Once you start making headway and have a strategy in place, it should feel more manageable and make you feel a bit more in control of the situation. Unfortunately putting your head in the sand won’t give you the same results. There are plenty of tips online, including advice from Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis on beating January debt. If things are really tight and you are struggling with the basics, you can also seek support from organisations like Turn2Us, The Trussell Trust or the Government.
Streamline your social media experience
For all the benefits of social media and its ability to connect people, inevitably it also makes it easier to compare yourself to others and, maybe this month the last thing you need is an influx of images that are going to leave you feeling even more disheartened and disillusioned. Fortunately, you can do something about that.
If just having a complete break from all your social media channels is a little too drastic, you can at least change up the timeline you see, so you’re only interacting with things that bring you joy. Consider blocking or temporarily muting hashtags and accounts you think might trigger you or add stress and focus on following more encouraging content that brings you positivity.
Just as sunlight affects our brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin, colour can have a really positive effect too. Even if it is just mind over matter, try dressing in brighter colours for the day – ditch the black coat for something more vibrant or add a pop of colour with your accessories (socks count too) and it should bring a smile to your face every time it catches your eye.
The trick works at home too. Research shows that our brains release different chemicals that affect us physically and emotionally when our eyes connect with a colour. Yellow, for example, stimulates the feel-good chemical in our brains, so is a great colour to have in the home to give you a lift. It represents optimism, brightness and mental clarity, so look for some beautiful home accents, such as LifestyleGarden’s Nassau range in Honey.
Orange is another good one; transmitting energy, joy, kindness, and fun, whilst green evokes feelings of growth, renewal and wellbeing. If you are on a budget, you don’t need to buy anything new, just seek out colourful home accessories that you already own and bring them to the forefront of your home to inject a bit of colour and positive energy into the space.
Look after yourself
Looking after your body and mind is guaranteed to give you a boost this month. Whether it’s getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritious meals, or keeping active, it all helps keep you feeling fitter, stronger and ready to take on anything that comes your way.
Take advantage of any moments of glorious winter sunshine and get outside for a walk or even just enjoy your garden or balcony for a breath of fresh air and the chance to soak up a bit of nature. If the mood takes you, stick on your gardening gloves and do a bit of weeding while you’re out there, as gardening offers incredible benefits to mental health (plus you’ll be able to enjoy the view more with those pesky weeds no longer in your eyeline).