It is not unusual to feel a little low at this time of year – a phase many of us call the January blues. The festivities have come to a halt and we've boxed up all the velvet, tinsel and sparkles that the holiday period had to offer. No longer are Michael Bublé's dulcet tones masking the fact that we're bloomin' cold and the twinkle of fairy lights can't compensate for that gloomy old winter sky anymore. Yep, we're back in the real world.... and we're not really feeling it.
Add to that the fact it has been a looooong time since we got paid in December and we can't even remember the last time the sun shined, and you have the recipe for what can best be described as feeling a bit glum.
Whether you're looking for a cost-free way to brighten your mood, a budget fix or are willing to splash the cash to revitalise and let your hair down in a way that the post-holiday slump won't seem let you, there's always a way!
We've made it our duty to put in the legwork and find you the perfect antidote to the January blues. In fact, we've got seven great ideas 'cos we're a varied bunch ourselves and know that combatting the blues isn't a one size fits all formula!
1. Get enough sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is the key to a happy, healthy life. Not only is it beneficial regarding snapping out of that cranky, January mood, it's also important for your metabolism and overall performance throughout the day.
NHS guidelines suggest establishing a regular sleep routine to maximise the efficiency of your slumber. Ditch your phone and screens an hour or so before you plan on going to bed and give yourself a chance to wind down. The recommended temperature of your bedroom is between 18°C and 24°C and it also helps to keep it tidy and the lights low.
Still struggling to sleep? Check the basics. Is your mattress comfortable. If not it is time to invest in a better one (see our list of the best mattresses to find the perfect match)
2. Diet: ditch the Christmas habits and take better care of your body
You're not alone in that post-Christmas slump. When we think of Christmas we envisage a huge, golden turkey, a mountain of roast potatoes and a whole load of gravy (and all the trimmings, of course). Delicious, but after that and all the cheese, chocolate and – let's get real – booze, you probably don't feel your best.
A treat is fine, nae encouraged, every so often, but our bodies need a vital combination of nutrients to function at their best. Diet is not just important for those looking to manage a post-Christmas waistline, but eating a varied diet ensures you get the vitamins and ions for every organ.
You don't need to do anything drastic (if you really did overindulge Dry January might be a good idea...), but make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eating a wide variety of fruit and veggies and watching your intake of sugar which can cause crashes and mood slumps in high quantities. Eat the rainbow, we say – it is a sure way to get a range of healthy food in. If you do need inspiration to include more veg in your diet, check out our best vegan recipes for some plant-based tastiness.
3. Get those endorphins going with some exercise
We know the struggle to motivate yourself to exercise at this time of year is real. It is cold and dark so dragging yourself back out of the house, or even off the sofa, is tough. However, as daunting as it seems to actually lace up your trainers and get yourself down to the gym, out on a run or even for a walk round the block, believe us when we say you won't regret it once you do!
The chemicals that your body releases when you're exercising can quell bad moods and even help to manage with depression. What's more, we'd like to dedicate a lil' throwback to advice number 1... partaking in exercise will help you to sleep better. We also find it often encourages a healthy diet. Essentially, these three things are the key to success all year round, but using them as a tool to combat the January blues isn't a bad idea!
Need extra motivation? Treat yourself to a stylish fitness tracker. The reporting is great for measuring your efforts and when you do well you get the digital equivalent of a gold star. We are easily pleased...
4. Make a New Year's playlist to give you energy and make you smile
No matter who you are or where you are, everyone has got at least one tune that gets their feet tapping and blood pumping... that's the kind of music you need in your life this January. Jump onto Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube or wherever you stream your music and create the playlist that will have you shouting "TUNE!" at every single track.
Yep, we don't care whether you're a dedicated fan of the golden oldies like Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis, if you choose to rock out to The Clash orrrr if you can't resist the Pussycat Dolls and Kylie... put your fave jams on a playlist and get those chores (or exercise) done with a skip in your step. C'mon, you've already got a few songs in mind, we know you do.
5. Book a luxury spa break... you deserve it
You're tempted, aren't you? The New Year back at work is stressful and getting back into the routine of everything (without mince pies to comfort us) is tough. Book yourself a night (or more) at a spa and rejuvenate the right way. Even an afternoon of TLC could be the self care you need to feel just a little less drained.
The good news is that Spabreaks.com has great deals to take the financial sting out of treating yourself. There are even options for under £50, such as at the Mercure Warwickshire Walton Hall Hotel & Spa which offers a night's bed and breakfast (Sunday only FYI), a £20 allowance towards dinner, full use of the leisure facilities and a robe, bath towel and slippers. Aaaah.
6. January doesn't have to be blue... get out and paint the town red
January doesn't have to be so dull; if you're someone who gets your kicks from having a laugh with your mates, you don't have to sacrifice it just because the calendar is boasting a new number. Booking a day out with your pals is a great way to cure those blues and there are a ton of different things you could do. How about taking a Saturday or Sunday for a cruise along the Thames and an afternoon tea? Or, if you've got little ones to think about, how does a family visit to Kew Gardens and Palace sound?
Strapped for cash? Get everyone together for a trip to the country for a big walk. If there is a pub stop en route, even better...
7. Did somebody say city break?
Yeah, we said city break!!! According to stats, one of the most common New Year's Resolutions of 2020 is to travel more... well, here's your chance. Whether you're dreaming of exploring a new city or quite literally after a break from the city altogether, we'll always encourage a mini holiday as a way to quell the blues.
Why not book a gorgeous little cottage getaway? You'll feel like you're starring in The Holiday (unfortunately, Jude Law is unlikely to be included). Or, how about jetting off to Paris, Rome or even Bangkok? We've just discovered that Booking.com are treating us all to 20 percent off stays from 1 January until 31 March... what are you waiting for?!?