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5 Ways to Make January Brilliant

So the festive season is over for another year, the children are back at school and there's a whole year stretching ahead of us before we get to do all that fun Christmas stuff again. Depressing isn't it? In fact, Monday was apparently the most depressing day of the year. But it doesn't have to be that way. We thought we'd give you some tips by sharing five ways you can make your January brilliant instead of blue.

1. Be Grateful

This is of course easier said than done when you're feeling down, but there's so much around us that is amazing. If you're feeling down about going back to work, think about what you like about it, such as having great colleagues. If you're missing your little ones now they're back at school, remind yourself that they've missed their friends. We've suggested websites such as Happier and Happy Rambles before and these are great for helping you stop for a moment and take note of what you're grateful for each day.

2. Help Others

Studies have shown that we can gain a great deal of happiness from making other people happy. You can do simple things like making your partner/colleagues a cuppa, offer to babysit for friends with young children or send a friend flowers out of the blue. Or on a more practical level, look at people who have less than you and do things to help them, such as have a clear out and take anything you haven't used in a while to your local charity shop or give a homeless person a coffee and a sandwich. It makes other people feel good and it will leave you with a great feeling of satisfaction – that's definitely a win - win!

3. Sing Out Loud

Everyone knows the saying "sing like no one is listening". Have you ever noticed singing along to your favourite song always leaves you with a smile on your face? And that's not all, singing produces feel-good endorphins. It increases oxygen levels in the blood. Singing improves posture and tones tummy muscles. It also reduces stress levels and blood pressure.

It seems singing in a choir has the most benefits to our wellbeing. A study published in Australia in 2008 revealed that on average, choral singers rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public - even when the actual problems faced by those singers were more substantial than those faced by the general public. You may be a fan of Gareth Malone's 'Sing While You Work' programmes on the BBC so if you're inspired to join a local choir, try Gareth's website which has lots of useful links. So what are you waiting for? It's time to grab your hairbrush and sing your heart out.

4. Unplug Those Gadgets

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram... we are bombarded with streams of information every day and not all of it is good. Studies have shown that social media can make us feel lonely and insecure about ourselves. Say goodbye to twitter trolls and ditch the phone, tablet and laptop for at least an hour every day and try to keep them out of your bedroom. Not convinced? Watch this video which shows why we're missing out by not living in the moment.

5. Sleep More

As the parent of a 4 year old who has decided they don't like their own bed and would rather sleep in Mummy and Daddy's bed, this is going to be far easier said than done for the foreseeable future. But if you don't have young children, no amount of caffeine can ever replace a full eight hours. Sleeping has been proven to improve your memory, spur creativity, help with weight loss and lower stress levels. Research suggests that if you sleep more at the weekends you aren't getting enough sleep in the week – so try to find that right balance. Try to say no to the odd social activity that will keep you out late and cut into your sleep time, see our tip number 4, or unwind with a warm bath half an hour before bed – don't take those gadgets in there with you - and you'll be away with the fairies in no time. Oh how I envy you!

When we set out to write our 5 ways to make January brilliant, we realised there are many more than that, so look out for a next blog where we'll share another 5. In the meantime if you're interested in making 2014 your best yet, Life Clubs are running a six week course Create Your Best Year Ever. Happy New Year.

Well being


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