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How to beat the January Blues
January is the collective Monday of the yearly calendar in terms of popularity, stretching out longer than you care to suffer. It can seem as though opportunities are fruitless and money is low. January 18th in particular marks the aptly titled ‘Blue Monday’, dubbed the most depressing day of the year due to its positioning toward the end of the month and post-Christmas usual credit card bill expectance. With so much to organise, it can be easy to get bogged down with it all, which is why we have compiled a fun list of free or minimally costing activities to keep the whole family happy and give you something to be cheerful about amidst the bleakness of early 2016.
Visit the Park
Weather permitting, the park is a fun place to spend the day and keep costs low. When the world starts to get you down take a break and explore greenery on your own doorstep. Fresh air can do the world of good when the weight of the world is on your shoulders. If you have kids, find a park in your area which accommodates play areas and has a mixture of areas to frolic at ease. If you’re in a couple, go to feed the ducks or just take a leisurely stroll together, time together away from phones and other distractions can be rare in most cases.
Movie Night In
Be strategic and host your own events to save costs of travelling to friends. A movie night is always a fun and easy option. Ask everyone to contribute with food and drinks so you all benefit overall and throw together a few ideas to decide which genre to go for. Pick an evening which suits the majority of schedules best to avoid bickering over plans and pre-determine if people have already seen your choices of film. If your group hasn’t caught up in a while it may be that the film is ignored and the event is used for an overall catch up instead.
Read a book
When stress hits a good form of escapism comes with a book. Immerse yourself in someone else’s life fictitious or not and forget your troubles for a few hours. Depending on how ambitious the read, books can be a good way to encourage creative flow and increase your vocabulary. If you’re unsure of where to start take note from past books you have enjoyed and research online what similar options may be available, alternately look up life stories of your idols or people of interest who you’d wish to know more about.
Fun and Games
Whether getting the friends round or entertaining children a good board game never goes amiss. Essentially British and never dated board games epitomise childhood fun and bring people together. Dust off your old Monopoly or dig out Trivial Pursuit for an evening of bonding (and hopefully no fallouts). If you don’t already own a few games it can be easy enough to improvise and work out your own. Games such as ‘Who am I?’ (where the chosen player has a famous name stuck to their head and the opposing players have to answer questions to help them guess) or Scattegories (where lists are compiled and players must find unique answers all beginning with one letter) are firm favourites on a zero budget.
Explore your hometown
There will always be areas where you live which you have simply not considered before. Take the perspective of a tourist and look into places you haven’t seen on your own doorstep. Many websites can advise on top free or low cost attractions, even if it’s just visiting a landmark or notable space you can easily make a day out of it. For creative activities, many art galleries offer free entry and only charge for specific exhibitions and can be easily found online if you do a little research, for which the same applies for museums.
Finding a new hobby can be great for your resolutions and even better on your bank balance permitting the subject. If you like to write or document, start a topical blog and practise your writing skills, many platforms offer free sign up with options to design and layout your page as you wish. If a blog isn’t on your agenda there are also plenty of options to learn new skills online. Look for language courses, some can be free or cheap, or explore a new challenge like learning to code, there are websites and apps which offer to teach the basics for free. If you prefer to get outdoors more try photography, just for the fun of it. Go out into your city or country landscape and look for picturesque photo opportunities, it’ll pass the time and allow you to look at things from a new angle. For a different kind of challenge, take up exercise if you don’t already partake in any sport. Going for a run can clear your mind and boost mood, as well as the physical benefits.
The main thing to remember when you feel down in the dumps is there’s always going to be someone worse off. Look at giving something back and feeling rewarded with opportunities to volunteer at local shops and charities. Getting involved can provide a new activity, with the opportunity to meet new people, as well as providing a well worth service to those in need. Find the activity which suits you best, whether it’s fund raising, assisting in store or getting more hands on and delivering items to those in need. Major charities are always on the lookout for new recruits; just ensure you can provide the time you have committed to avoid disappointing anyone.