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WELLBEING 2018

30 JANUARY JOYS

It’s 2 January. The euphoria of Christmas and New Year has melted away with the prosecco-induced hangover. It’s still dark and dreary outside, and you’re back at work with a poorly bank balance, though possibly carrying a few extra pounds around your waist.

We know that January can be a bit of an ordeal if you’re a lover of Christmas, and that many of us are dubious about the value of hard-to-keep New Year resolutions - or at least the longevity of them.

So we’d like to suggest 30 daily free or at least cheap ideas for things to make, do or enjoy to cheer you up and make you feel a little better as each day passes during the month ahead. They may prompt you to invent your own little pick-me-ups, but whatever you do, we hope that January brings you some joy.

1. Buy a bunch of cheap and cheerful yellow daffs - they’ll be in the shops now

2. Make bread. And if you’ve some Christmas money or vouchers to spend and would like to make it a habit, maybe consider spending them on a breadmaker

3. If you’re not a baker, make some simple cakes or even flapjacks. If you’re a regular baker, find a new recipe to try

4. Make a casserole or some soup using cheap cuts of meat and/or root vegetables. And if you still have Christmas money or vouchers to spend and enjoy the results of your culinary endeavours, consider a slow cooker or even a soup maker

5. Create a playlist that will get you going on a bleak midwinter day, or a Monday morning

6. Write thank you letters using a pen and nice paper instead of sending texts or emails

7. Get in touch with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while

8. Clear out a cupboard or a drawer, and bask in the resulting sense of satisfaction. Bask even more if you’ve taken contents to a charity shop or for recycling, or given them to someone who can make good use of things you no longer want or need

9. Get your boots on and take a long walk along a nature trail or beach

10. Volunteer for a good local cause - even if it’s a one-off because you can’t make a regular commitment

11. Have a nice long bath with a book, the radio and some candles

12. Make a list of all the things you achieved last year and give yourself a pat on the back

13. Update your CV, even if you’re not currently job hunting

14. Plan your holidays - no need to book until your bank balance has recovered from Christmas

15. Ride a bike for an hour, especially if you can freewheel downhill

16. If you don’t have one, borrow a dog and take it for a walk. Or offer to babysit for any frazzled parents you know so they can have a date night

17. Clean all your shoes and take any that need mending to the repair shop

18. Watch your favourite film again. Or try and catch as many of the Oscar-nominated movies as you can (they’ll be announced on 23 January)

19. Watch that box set or Netflix series you’ve been meaning to for ages

20. Help someone much older or younger than you who needs a hand with something, whether it’s gardening or homework

21. Try a yoga class, or any new kind of exercise, even if it’s only once

22. Grow some herbs on your windowsill, balcony or patio

23. Check out a free public lecture at your local higher education establishment, or sign up for an evening or weekend class to learn something new

24. Upcycle a scruffy piece of furniture and give it a new lease of life

25. Find a new podcast you like to download

26. Buy an adult colouring book and enjoy a little mindfulness

27. Go ice skating, or do something scary

28. Book a gig or a festival where your favourite singer or band will be playing

29. Make something instead of buying it, even if it’s only your lunchtime sandwich

30. Walk somewhere instead of taking the car or bus