So Monday the 16th of January is slowly approaching!

So what you may say? Well, the third Monday of January is said to be the most depressing day of the year for most people. The excitement of Christmas has been long forgotten, New Years Eve 2017 feels like 2016, even the hangover has been forgotten about! The new years resolutions have all been dumped and, well, broken, and the impeding doom of the bank statement for November and Decembers spending when you were feeling Oh so generous, is due to fall on the front door mat any day now!

Add that to the gloomy weather, rolling out of bed in the dark and travelling home from work in the dark, longer hours cooped up in the house which can put stress on people living together, and you have a recipe for one miserable time of the year!

Sounds delightful doesn’t it? So what are you going to do? Sit around on your backside and mope and make yourself feel even worse, or pick yourself up, have a think and put some of the following into action and kick the crap out of the January blues?

But everything costs money I hear you whine! Well it bloody doesn’t have to is my reply!

Well lets start with the absolute basics – laughing is, as they say, the BEST medicine!!!

Take a look back at some of your favourite comedy movies! I’m  pretty sure most of you have access to DVD’s, Sky, Netflix or Now TV? Well sit down with the family or partner and throw on a good comedy and have some good hard belly laughs!!! Prefer reading material, then grab yourself a comedy novel or just a good old-fashioned joke book. Google jokes on the internet, it doesn’t matter how you get your laughs just get them in. And get them as often as possible!

Scientific studies have proven that laughter reduces the stress response, boosts immunity, improves resilience, combats depression and also reduces pain. (My kids hate it when i make them laugh right after they’ve hurt themselves!) Laughter is also very contagious so get the family together or a group of friends and have a bloomin good laugh together, you’ll all benefit from it.

Music soothes the soul!

Another way to perk yourself up would be listen to your favourite music or maybe a song or album that you used to love and haven’t listened to in a long time (obviously make sure this wasn’t music that you were listening to when you were going through a bad patch in your life!) Again, music has been scientifically shown to affect the brain at a very deep level bringing powerful feelings over you. Only recently I came across an old album which i hadn’t listened for years and it brought back a fantastic feeling of happiness to me and some great memories!

Spend some time concentrating on YOU!

Over the Christmas period, if you are like most people you will have been forced to spend nearly all your time around family and friends, feeling like you either have to play host or having to please others by attending family gatherings or parties etc. For the most part this is  a good thing, but by New Years Eve most people are done with it!

How many of you can say you take even 5 minutes out of your day to focus fully on yourselves? I don’t mean you get 5  minutes while having a shower or sitting on the loo in peace, although sometimes that would be a blessing, I mean taking 5 minutes just sitting alone without any distractions, closing your eyes or just sitting with a cup of tea and just gathering your own thoughts? Focusing fully on yourself for those few precious moments. Not on what you have to do next or what else you’ve got to get done that day, but just YOU!

If you’ve never done it or even thought of it, then try it! Set yourself aside 5 minutes of complete downtime, If you’re wondering what to actually think about then don’t, just sit, concentrate on each breath and just enjoy the moments. This may seem like a waste of time to begin with but over time this will help ease any stress and anxiety and you’ll come to enjoy those few moments where it’s just you.

So the New Years Resolutions never quite made it then huh?

So set yourself a goal or target which you can stick to! Simple things to do in January to make a little healthier such as drink 8 glasses of water everyday, or make a target of 5 pieces of fruit and veg everyday. Ditch the sugar filled cereal and try a healthier alternative such as oats and fruit or a boiled free range egg on a single piece of whole grain toast with avocado, Just try it for the rest of January to see how it can make you feel. It doesn’t have to be complicated but try to make it doable and something which come February you’ll be proud of yourself for sticking to and may even become habit.

Make the most of the fresh bright days that we actually do get!

There wont be many but so far in January we’ve had it pretty good, so get your jumpers, hats and gloves on and get the family out for a walk for 30 minutes. Hell, if your feeling ambitious you could even drive out to a park and take a stroll around. Enjoy the fresh air and the little bit of sunshine and maybe even have a bit of fun with the family and take some hot chocolate and marshmallows with you! It will put a smile on the kids faces which ultimately will also pick you up!

Change your thought patterns!

OK, so this ones a bit more difficult, but it’s still achievable! Most people are very good at thinking negative thoughts and making themselves feel bad. You can see it in the way they walk, talk, breath and hold their posture. They just seem to be naturally deflated. So next time you feel down just try this simple exercise, sit yourself up straight or stand up straight, shoulders back, give yourself a powerful, positive posture. Take deeper breaths and now think of a time when you REALLY REALLY enjoyed yourself! And i mean really focus on that event. It doesn’t matter what the vent was, these are your thoughts, what matters is, is that it changes your state or frame of mind. You may have feelings of happiness, positivity, confidence or even have a fit of the giggles, it doesn’t matter as long as it brings good feelings your way.

Use this method as often as you can and you’ll find you have a powerful tool to instantly change the way you feel whenever you want.

Sort your sleep patterns out and stop bloody yawning!

You may have missed out on some critical sleep during the festive period, either due to general late nights or drinking alcohol on the evenings. (Alcohol has been proven to ruin sleep patterns despite many people thinking it will give them a better nights sleep! During a normal nights sleep our bodies will generally go through 6-7 REM cycles of sleep, and its the REM sleep that refreshes us. When we drink we end up sleeping too deeply and may only get 1-2 cycles of REM sleep after the alcohol has worn off, this leaves the body and mind completely exhausted.

So set yourself a sleep pattern and try and stick to it. Don’t focus on trying to get your standard 8 hours, not everybody needs that much, but focus on being in bed at the same time each night and actually have a set pattern to keep to! Hey, you may even find something else to do when you go to bed early that will make you feel good!

And finally, plan an adventure! OK, a holiday then!

There’s nothing to stop you trawling the internet dreaming of an esoteric far off place, or even planning your summer holiday away with the family and friends. You may not have the cash now but at some point you will probably be booking a vacation of some description, so hit the holiday web sites  and see whats about, you may even come up with a bargain and even get something booked, and we all love having something to look forward to.

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