First up: Happy New Year! We hope you all had lovely Christmases and much-needed breaks over the festive period. I moved house, which meant Christmas was spent in a blur of unpacking boxes, putting up pictures and hoping that we’ve made the right move (London to the country – classic move, classic doubts, fingers crossed….). But we’re here now and making the most of it. The problem is that it’s January, possibly my least favourite month of the year (although February comes a close second) and the dark, dismal and dank weather is making me feel a little bit down (all the d’s except the most important one – Vitamin D – where are are those bright blue sky winter days when you need them?) I don’t wish to spend the next month or so feeling pants (and besides, I’ve got all that meeting the neighbours/trying to make friends/work stuff to do), and so I am hoping that these 5 happiness tricks will help make January just that teensy bit better….
1. Be kind to yourself
January isn’t a month to beat yourself up. Why aren’t I doing this? Why am I so rubbish at that? Why can’t I blah, blah, blah? Instead of looking at the faults, focus on the positives (granted, it is easier said than done). Take care of yourself – eat well, go to bed early, have a long bath if you like them (you can’t beat Aromatherapy Associates’ Deep Relax bath oil for this), pamper yourself by doing the things you enjoy – if that means stuffing yourself with chocolate whilst watching Made in Chelsea repeats, then do it. And then, think gently about the future. What do you want to change? How are you going to do it? What simple, easy things would make your life better? January really is a time for looking after yourself, planning for the future and not beating yourself up if the most you’ve achieved in the month is discovering that dryathlon Januarys really aren’t for you.
2. Book a child-free night away
The thought of this really brings a smile to my face. Whether it’s with your husband, your boyfriend, a friend or your mum, a break from your day-to-day routine is like a tonic for the soul. Ockenden Manor in West Sussex has a great spa as does Archerfield House in East Lothian (read our review here). The Angel & Blue Pig in Hampshire is a pub with rooms that looks lovely (rooms start at £105 per night), the Wild Rabbit in the Cotswold is a tres chic proposition from the Daylesford team, whilst I’m always a fan of Firmdale Hotels (in London) and the Calcot Collection of hotels including Barnsley House, Calcot Manor and the Lord Crewe Arms in County Durham.
Alternatively, plan a fun day out – a trip to a coastal town, the Big Smoke or the countryside if you live in the city – having something to look forward to in the near future is worth its weight in gold.
3. Consider a social media detox
Put your phone to one side, log off social media and reconnect to your own immediate world. If you find yourself constantly reaching for your phone, logging on to Facebook or Instagram every day (and feeling worse for doing it), then it’s time to cut yourself off. Let your mind wander, allow yourself to feel bored, listen to your children laugh together, resist the temptation to check your phone whilst you’re in the park with the kids…By engaging in the present, life is so much better.
4. Eat Well
My Christmas passed in a blur of chocolate, biscuits, cheese, roast potatoes and a little more chocolate. Unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow, then I’m guessing yours might have been the same. All that indulgence can leave the body craving the good stuff, so give it to it. Head over to W&W favourites Cooking Them Healthy for some fab family-friendly, ultra-nutritious recipes, check out super-nutritionist Henrietta Norton’s advice for a healthy winter body or try one of these dishes (such as the courgette and aubergine curry pictured above) from dynamic sister duo Hemsley + Hemsley.
5. Treat yourself
If all else fails, shop. I have been incredibly good and not bought a thing for myself for months. But, I can tell you, my inner strength is about to crack. One of the things I miss most about living in London is my proximity to Cos. I’ve been browsing the website and there are some great bargains to be had. Chinti & Parker is always a great investment. Some of the cashmere jumpers are half-price in the sale, I really quite like this grey one with pink stars, although there are a lot of pieces ready to be snapped up. Matches’ sale is in full swing. This Isabel Marant dress is the perfect example of classic with a twist and I am very tempted to invest. Also keep an eye on the Hush winter sale, which starts at midnight tonight. With 60% off, it’ll definitely be worth a look….
Images: The Guardian (top pic)/courgette and aubergine curry by Nick Hopper from The Art of Eating Well by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley/all other images from pinterest