Feeling a little flat after the excitement and merriment of Christmas? If the cold of Winter and the dark nights are combining to make you feel a little lacklustre, we are here with suggestions to raise your spirits and make January a little more fun.
Have a Burns Night Celebration
Burns Night, 25th January – the night to celebrate the life and works of the National bard of Scotland. Go as full on with a Scottish themed party or low-key with just a few friends for supper! Who can fail to be rallied by the stirring sound of the bagpipes as the haggis is piped into the room for supper? Serve Cock-a-Leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties and a delicious portion of Tipsy Laird – a yummy Scottish trifle. Wash it all down with some warming whisky. The BBC have a great guide for how to do a traditional Burns Night supper.
Chinese New Year
See the Chinese New Year in with a roar – 1st February 2022 is the start of the Year of the Tiger! Use January to plan your celebration. Celebrations of the Chinese New Year traditionally last for 16 days, which start on Chinese New Year’s Eve (31st January 2022) to the Lantern Festival on February 15th. Hang some traditional red decorations for your Chinese New Year celebration. Red is associated with wealth and good fortune. The decorations are hung to ward off Nian, a lion-like monster who is afraid of it, according to Lunar New Year mythology. Why not have a go at making your own decorations?
Use the celebration as a reason to give the house a cleaning overhaul! Traditionally in the days leading up to Chinese New Year, windows are cleaned, floors swept and scrubbed, and furniture dusted to wash away the bad luck of the past year. That should keep you busy!
Save a Life – Give Blood
Do something amazing this January. In the USA, January is National Blood Donor Month, and we think giving blood is a great way to start the new year too – or in fact, at any time of the year! It doesn’t matter where you live, blood donation is vitally important for saving lives. It’s just a few minutes of your time to make a massive difference. You get a nice cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards and a warm fuzzy feeling knowing you have helped to save a life too!
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is best to check that your local donation service is operational. Specific guidance is given here by the NHS Blood and Transplant Service and you can find further information and sign up here.
Practice Mindfulness, Positivity and Gratitude
January can feel a little flat and stressful for some, practicing mindfulness can be very helpful for living in the moment, settling an unquiet mind and for feeling more positive, no matter what is going on around you. Taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness which is the practice of living in the moment and not giving headspace to the past or the future, just accepting what is happening right now. There are some great tips on Mindfulness on the NHS website.
There are other useful practices you can try to help you to feel more positive, try 10 minutes of Yoga or Pilates, a 15-minute meditation, enjoying a short walk in the fresh air or just talking 2 minutes to close your eyes and focus on your natural breaths. Why not try some positive affirmations, this helpful guide from the NHS will walk you through how to focus and affirm the positive aspects of your life.
Gratitude or being thankful, will help to improve your mental health and boost your relationships with others. You can learn more about Gratitude and the many benefits on the mindful.org website.
For those of us who overindulged at Christmas, the Dry January challenge is a great opportunity to be kind to our bodies. Associated with better sleep and a whole host of other health benefits, many use the Dry January, alcohol free challenge as a way of raising funds for the Alcohol Change charity. Need some help, inspiration and motivation with Dry January? Head over to the alcoholchange.org.uk site for some great Dry January tips and to access their free “Try Dry” app.
The time of year for bargain hunters to shine! Starting Boxing Day and for many retailers, available throughout the first month of the year, there is many a bargain to be had in the January Sales. Everything from holidays and white goods to clothes from your favourite brands, toys, food and cosmetics are all traditionally reduced.
Top tip: to avoid buyer’s remorse, make a list before you shop and try to avoid impulse buying. A little bit of online research should show you the regular price so you can check that you are getting a good deal
Other Special Dates in January
There are plenty of other special dates in January to celebrate, on the 17th it is Martin Luther King Day, the 18th is Winne the Pooh day, the 20th is National Cheese Lovers Day (yum!), the 21st is Red Squirrel Appreciation Day, the 26th is Australia Day and the 28th of January is International Lego Day! There is something going on in January to suit almost everyone, kick those January Blues into touch and find your reason(s) to enjoy January!