Yes, it’s January. But the yucky winter weather doesn’t mean we have to slump into the cracks of the couch, not to be seen until the sun shines again. It doesn’t even mean we have to stay inside.
The gloomy skies and winter chill may have you feeling a touch grouchy—it’s OK, it happens to best of us. After a festive holiday season full of celebrations, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have as much to look forward to (other than binge-watching shows on Netflix and indulging in junk food). But instead of starting off the new year on a sour note, find some choice activities to lift your spirits. Here are some simple ways you can give the cold shoulder to the January blues.
Stay active (and get outside!)
If you live where the snow falls in January, sledding is a no-brainer. Bundle up, get your basic sled (or even a plastic trash can lid from your local hardware store) and hit the hills. This can be great exercise and serious fun. There’s nothing like some physical activity to get those natural mood boosters—also known as endorphins—pumping into your system.
For a warmer alternative, there’s always planking. Remember when planking was a meme? If you’re not familiar with it, planking is where a person props themselves up with their toes and elbows, belly down, with their body straight. After a few seconds, you’ll really feel the burn in your abs. Turn this into a friendly competition among family members. See who can hold the plank the longest, and the winner doesn’t have to do any chores for a week.
For a more relaxing way to de-stress, yoga is a nice way to speed up your heart rate and stay in shape, all while calming your mind. What’s more, this can be an individual or a group activity. Imagine your entire family doing yoga together—what a fun time! All you have to do is visit YouTube and search for yoga videos—there’s hundreds online for you to try.
Plan your next vacation
Who doesn’t daydream about warm destinations and sunny beaches when the snow is falling outside? January is a great time to bite the bullet and start planning your next family vacation. Do some homework on potential locales and activities—planning is half the fun!
Not only does plotting out your next holiday give you something to look forward to (again, studies have shown that anticipating a fun event can make us happier than the event itself), January is often a good time to scoop up some great travel deals.
DIY your way through winter
A fun distraction (and sometimes a therapeutic one) is creating something with your hands. A crafter can easily find things to make on Pinterest, and eager DIYers always end up with a cozy, hand-knit scarf or a cute thingamajig to hang on the wall.
Not super crafty? No problem. A fun and practical idea to keep yourself busy is to make freezer meals. Not only does this quash the everyday quandary of what to have for dinner, it can also help save you some serious cash. Find a laundry list of make-ahead recipes, toss all the ingredients into a gallon-sized, plastic Ziploc bag and store in your freezer. When you don’t have the time to cook, pull out a bag out, thaw and pop the ingredients into the crock pot, oven or stove for a quick meal.
Prepping multiple meals take less than an hour, and you can get help from family and friends. Host a meal-making party and get everyone involved!
Turn on your favorite tunes
Remember the song you walked down the aisle to? Or the one playing when you first heard you were going to be a parent? Music can stir up all kinds of feelings, especially when they’re associated with certain memories. So why not use that to harness your happiness? Happy music means a happier you.
Smart people have done experiments on this and found that music can help with stress. So when you’re feeling down, turn on your favorite song, even if it’s only on in the background while cooking, cleaning or playing with the kiddos.
Get a jump start on spring cleaning
You don’t necessarily need to wait until spring to deep clean your home. Decluttering can be very therapeutic, even in the dead of winter.
Dig through your closets, sort through long-forgotten boxes full of things you haven’t used in years and attack your attic. Clearing out all that unneeded clutter can give you a serious feeling of satisfaction, and help net you some extra income.
Movie + food = happiness
Having a movie night in is a classic (and budget-friendly) activity for blustery evenings. Turn on your favorite flick, order some takeout or cook up your favorite dish and cuddle up on the couch with the wee ones, family or close friends. While turning your living room into a home theater is economical entertainment, it’s also a great way to spend a little quality time with your loved ones.
Bonus points: use those aforementioned freezer meals as entrees or appetizers to nibble while watching those movies.
Wetting your whistle has more benefits than simply quenching your thirst. Water rejuvenates the body, sustains our hydration and keeps us feeling normal. You know how the human body can live without food as long as there’s water, and not so much in reverse? Yeah, it’s because we need water to literally keep our juices flowing. Just how much? Experts recommend we knock back eigh 8-ounce glasses per day—that translates to about two liters or half a gallon. No matter how you measure it, make an effort to drink more this winter.
These are just a few simple ways to boost your mood if you’re feeling down in the dumps this month. And remember—January is only 31 days, and spring will be here before you know it.
How do you kick those January blues? Share your advice and tips in the comments below.