My social media feeds have been full of people bemoaning the month of January, with some going as far as to say that they "hate" January. I'll admit that it can be hard to adjust to getting up early for work again, eating normal portions, and not opening the booze before midday, but I'm determined to make January cheerful! Here's how I'm going to do it:
Use Up The Christmas Stuff
I know that I need to get back to a normal eating routine, but I hate waste, so I am determined to finish up all the Christmassy food first! The other night we'd run out of yoghurt to go with our fruit, so we used up an unopened tub of brandy cream, and I am currently enjoying the last few bags of a nice festive tea blend from Whittards. I'm drawing the line at using up the spare Christmas pudding, because it's 'use by' date isn't until April or something, so I might rename it '"Easter pudding" and have it then! I think it must be depressing for people who start dieting on January 1st, after a month of eating chocolate for breakfast, to suddenly be living off cup-a-soups. I think a gradual decrease is a happier compromise.
Enjoy Your Christmas Presents
The fancy soap? Use it! The posh tea? Put the kettle on! If you're back to work and have a commute by train or bus, then it's time to get started on all of those wonderful books received as Christmas gifts. The evenings are dark and cold, but that's the perfect excuse to cosy up and watch those DVD box sets! Here at our house in darkest Wales, the chilly weather is a reason to enjoy our biggest present to ourselves, which was a woodburning stove. I need to get an axe now.
Make Your Own Get Togethers
Looking at the calendar, January's pretty empty for events and special days and general reasons for social get togethers. (The exception is Burns Night, on the 25th January, if you fancy breaking your 'dry January' resolution for a wee dram of whisky and a bit of haggis.) But there are ample opportunities to stamp your own events on the calendar. January's the perfect time to catch up with people that you may have missed before Christmas, maybe because everyone was just too busy, or if there were some colds going around. I've got a lunch date lined up this coming weekend with a few friends that were too busy to meet pre-Christmas, and it will be so much more relaxed than trying to squeeze in a visit between Christmas parties and shopping and all the rest of it!
I love planning and organising things. This year, a big part of planning for me is about spending my money on more activities and experiences than possessions. There's the small detail of a wedding to put together later in the year, but I also want to factor in more time travelling and seeing friends. There's a lot to look forward to! It helps to also plan all the activities that are more like work than fun, (like DIY) so that you can see accurately how much free time you'll have. If you can do all of this planning on really pretty stationery, it will bring extra cheer, and having something to look forward to is really important for morale.
Set yourself some challenges
The point about these is apparently that you might not enjoy them while you're doing them, but you will feel amazing once you've completed them! This is the area where I'm probably under-achieving. I see people making goals of "run 5 miles every day" and "learn Swedish", but I don't have the inclination for that kind of commitment. I need something a bit less sweaty and definitely less intellectual (I'm starting a PhD this year, I think my brain will have enough to cope with!). I've come across a challenge to stop buying clothes. For 100 days. * Gulp* The #100daysnospend challenge has been set by fellow Welsh blogger Rachel over at her style blog, Rachel the Hat. When I first read the article, my first thought was how hard that would be for me to do. Whilst I don't spend vast amounts of time and money on shopping for clothes, I do swing by the charity shops at least once a week, where you can easily lose half a day, and I am guilty of a spot of internet shopping on occasion. I told my husband-to-be about the challenge the other night and his response was to laugh, and to say that he didn't think I could do it (this from the man who has bought more shoes than me in the last year...). If there's one thing that gives me motivation, it's someone telling me I can't do something. My genetically received stubborn-streak kicks in, and I move hell and high-water to prove them wrong. So, here we go, count me in!! Now, you may well be thinking "how on Earth is not shopping going to make you cheerful, surely it will make you depressed?!". Well, I am hoping the feeling of self-satisfaction and knowledge that I am saving money (for travel, see 'Planning' above) will provide all the cheer I need, as well as being a good tactic to stop the ever-increasing mound of clutter. Things being tidy really does make me cheerful. A final note: as I am getting married this year, I am allowed to buy bridal items as the one exception!)
Is your January a cheerful one? How do you combat the post-Christmas blues? And do you think you could easily do 100 days of not shopping?