- Have a spend-free month - After the excesses of December, our bank balance can be a little bleak in January. It’s liberating, then, to call time on spending. To step off the consumer wheel for a month and focus on home and hearth. January sales can tempt us to keep on buying just to snap up that incredible bargain. But removing the temptation by avoiding shops, including online ones, reminds us that the best things in life are free: laughter, love, family, beautiful landscapes etc. So why not try avoiding all unnecessary spending – even setting a family food budget to keep to – and see how much better you feel for not splurging.
- Exercise - Sometimes the last thing we feel like doing in the dark winter months is actually moving! But getting exercise truly makes a difference to our overall wellbeing. Not only do we feel fitter, but research shows it makes us happier and less liable to catch winter bugs. Stick a record on and have a dance, go for a bracing walk outside, or do some restorative yoga. Whatever floats your boat, make exercise part of your daily routine in January and you’ll not only beat the blues but feel better in other areas too.
- Eat nourishing, seasonal food - Many people launch into a detoxification programme in January. Whilst it’s a good idea to cut down on the excesses of the festive period, forcing the body into extreme detoxification at this time of year is not always wise. We need nourishing foods to keep our immune systems strong and to warm us from the inside out. But you can be super healthy at the same time by favouring soups and stews with lots of fresh vegetables. The vegetables that are in season in winter, such as leafy greens and root veg, point us towards the kinds of foods that are most nourishing for us at this time.
- Supplement your diet - Many of us are deficient in vitamin D, especially in winter when we aren’t able to access it through exposure to the sun. As it helps with immune function among other things, it’s a good idea to take a supplement during the darker months. Vitamin B is recommended to help balance moods and beat symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium help to fight infections, as does Echinacea. See a qualified nutritionist if you feel below par for individualised advice on what you might be lacking.
- Have a laugh -
Laughter is one of the best ways to boost your mood. If you are a bit short of things to find funny, a good comedy is a perfect bit of winter escapism. Cosy up on the sofa with your loved ones and watch a comedy classic together. Throw in some mood-enhancing hot chocolate made with raw cacao and snacks like toasted seeds and you’ve got a lovely evening right there!
- Follow the seasons - In the dark days of winter, tiny crocuses or snowdrops poking through the soil can really lift the spirits. Engaging with the seasons helps us to see the incremental changes each day, such as where the sun rises and sets, and how the daylight lasts a little longer. Taking a photo of a favourite part of nature once a week – such as a tree or area of wilderness - is a good way to record these changes. Looking back at these pictures enables us to see that even if it is raining and cold again, the cycle of the year is moving towards spring and light.
- Take control - All of us have areas in our lives that need a little tweaking, and that we avoid facing. But breaking that insurmountable task down into manageable chunks makes it less scary. Research shows that beginning a task is the hardest part; once we’ve tackled even the tiniest part of it we start to feel better immediately. Write down each part of the task on your calendar or diary and tick it off as you complete it – recording your achievements helps to boost feelings of pleasure associated with tackling a problem.
- Clear your space - Getting rid of unwanted clutter invites new, fresh energy into the home. As the old adage goes “a clear space is a clear mind”. Freecycle it, donate it to charity, bestow it on people who will actually use it – just get it out the door! You’ll feel better when you can close that drawer that is usually overflowing with stuff. When your space is clear, write down the energies and experiences you want to bring into the home in 2018 and either use them to decorate candle holders or prop up pieces of card with words on near a candle. As you light each candle, invite that experience/feeling into your new clear space.