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16 Jan 2017
January is rubbish. Blame cold weather without the comfort of twinkly lights, being too afraid to check your bank account after blowing your budget on presents, or just exhaustion after Christmas and New Year. After all the excitement and anticipation of Christmas, it’s easy to feel a bit down when the new year rolls around.
But you don’t need big “new year, new me” ambitions or lofty goals to feel better now that Christmas is over. Here are some tips to boost your happiness this month...
We live busy lives, and when we’re rushing around thinking about everything we need to do, and all the stuff we haven’t done, it’s easy to forget all the great things we have in our lives! Keeping a gratitude journal is a brilliant way to keep track of all the little things that are easily forgotten.
Try to get into a routine, whether it’s every day or every week, of listing a few things that you’re grateful for; from the deep and meaningful (friends, family), to the small (a hot cup of tea on a cold morning) and fundamental (a roof over your head, delicious food, hot water). We can get fixated on the things that don’t matter, so it’s important to take some time to appreciate the things that do.
If you’re keen to give meditation a go, apps like Headspace are a great place to start.
Nothing makes you feel better than doing something nice for someone else, so why not make it a habit to perform a regular random act of kindness? From buying a suspended coffee to something as simple as letting someone go in front of you in a queue, you never know how much this might make their day!
Instead of battling against the dark, cold nights, why not embrace them? The Danish do! While hygge has no literal translation into English, it’s about fostering a sense of cosiness and comfort – so perfect for a grim, grey January! There are no rules to hygge except comfort, togetherness and doing exactly what makes you happy! Grab a big, cosy blanket, light some candles, and switch off your phone so you read a book with a big mug of tea. You’re so hygge!
Hands up if you scroll through your phone while having a conversation, or check your emails in the middle of an important work project? Guilty! We all do it, believing it makes us more productive, but it actually has the opposite effect as it makes our brain more stressed.
So for optimum happiness and productivity, try to focus on one thing at a time – no multitasking!
Call your parents, tell that stylish girl at work you love her dress, smile at a stranger on the bus, or ask someone how their day was and really listen to their answer.There’s nothing like that warm, fuzzy feeling of human connection!
This seems basic, but it can be really hard to know what actually makes us happy. Spend some time writing a list of the activities that actually make you smile, from preparing a delicious meal to watching your favourite films, to knitting, colouring in or whatever makes you tick! Keep this list handy to remind you of what to do whenever you need a boost.
Whether that’s some early morning yoga, a refreshing run or even just a chance to start your day with a sit down and a brew rather than jumping out of bed last-minute. Starting your day intentionally gives you a great opportunity to set the tone and purpose of your day, and means you’ll have achieved something before most people are out of bed.
Many of us live fairly sedentary lives – we wake up, sit on some transport, sit at work all day, sit on the way back, and then sit when we get home. If we work at a desk, too, we likely get very little time outside. But a few minutes in the fresh air can really give us a mood boost! Try to get out and about at least once a day, whether it’s a walk in the park at lunchtime or a kickabout with the guys after work, your body – and brain – will thank you.
We can all be too hard on ourselves at times. If you’re guilty of this, make sure you treat yourself every now and again. It doesn’t have to be a physical purchase – it could be a hot bubble bath, a coffee from your favourite place, a manicure, or even just an evening off from your usual chores. You deserve it!
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