Thursday 9 January 2014

Beating the January blues

There's been so much in the media recently about the January blues that it seemed wrong not to give the topic some blog space.

Here in my little corner of the world, we've been exceptionally lucky over the past few days with bright skies and crisp, clear days. If anything can help me shake off the blues, it's getting out into the winter sunshine. I'm aware, however, that a) the weather won't always be as good here b) the weather has been pretty terrible elsewhere and c) there's often a lot more to the January blues than the dull, dark days of winter (click here to see my thoughts on the latter subject).

Money money money
Money, or the lack of, is a major concern for many at the start of the year.  The excesses of the festive season tend to leave bank balances looking rather the worse for wear. I'm no financial guru but if belt tightening is the order of the day - or even the next few months - hop on over to the Mortgage Free in Three website, where the wonderfully upbeat Elaine Colliar is rallying others to join her 'Thirty Days of Thrift' challenge.  Simply sign up for Elaine's emails and you'll get some great daily advice - along with the camaraderie of others - to help you through this tough lean month. 

If your financial woes run deep and long-term, you should also try checking out Martin Lewis's Moneysaving Expert site.  It's stuffed with advice on how to make the best of your financial situation - however dire - and his free budget planning tool is perfect if you've decided that now is the right time to take a long, hard look at where your cash is going.
Piling on the wrong kind of pounds
January generally means a loss of monetary pounds and a gain in the ones that cling to your hips. BOO! Some people like to treat January as a fresh start and tackle hard core diet plans with gusto.  I do not fall into this category.  I find it exceptionally hard to survive on a strict daily regime of salad when the weather's bitter outside and I'm craving warm, comforting foods.  The good news is that these foods don't necessarily have to compound the inevitable Christmas weight gain.  For me, this is the season when soup comes into its own!  Not only is it nutritious, it shouldn't break the January budget either. What's more, there's an eye-popping variety of different types that you can make.  Can't justify a new recipe book? Pinterest, AllRecipes and BBC Good Food have excellent, easy-to-follow recipes that are just a click away.
A hearty bowl of soup can be a January saviour
Getting off the sofa
It can be pretty hard to get motivated about exercise when you're cash poor and not feeling like your svelte self.  Yet this is the time we need it most! It's likely that a private gym membership is out of the question, so it's time to be creative about what you can do instead...  If you're not really in the habit of exercising, try to think hard about what type of activity will suit you and work around your other demands, whether these be your job, your family commitments or both. If you're new to exercise, walking is a safe and often sociable way to get started, provided you can persuade a friend to join you.  If you swap your regular coffee outing for a walk with others, you can save money, catch up and get fit - all at the same time.  But what about the bad weather I hear you ask? If you want to get moving indoors, why not dust off any old exercise DVDs you have, or press the Wii back into service? I also love a Yoga app that I can use from my iPad. It cost very little to download and offers access to a whole variety of workouts, which vary in length and intensity.

Arranging to exercise with others will help you off the sofa

Depending on when you're reading this, you've already made it through at least part of January. Congratulate yourself for getting this far, grit your teeth and beat off those blues as best you can!

Related posts: Dealing with the dull dark days of winter

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  1. Walk tomorrow? Lol...yes I need to get rid of all the excess of sweeties that have accumulated in the store cupboard and stop nibbling on them...xx

  2. The post Christmas sweetie stash is definitely a hindrance when it comes to healthy eating! I've been using the remnants of selection boxes to melt down and use for baking, chocolates sauces etc. - still doesn't fall into the healthy eating category but it does use them up (and it means that everyone eats them and not just me....!) x