12 ways to have an awesome January

flower Is anyone else a bit fed up of every single newspaper, magazine and TV show assuming that you have the January blues? I get that January can be a hard time for everyone, especially after a brilliant few weeks over Christmas that are littered with social occasions, yum food and gifts. I get that budgets can be tight after going crazy on the Prosecco and pressie-buying in December. But for me, January can also be great.

For starters, I am UBER refreshed after having two weeks off week – I’m full of fresh ideas and ready to crack on with all of the projects that were starting to get me down before Christmas. I have less social and work commitments, meaning I’m free to spend a bit more time on myself and the things I really want to do. And more than anything January and the New Year gives us a great reason to pause and focus about the things we really want to achieve this year, which to me is really, really exciting!

So this year, rather than being brain washed by the media into thinking that I have to spend the whole of January moping about at home eating celery, I’m vowing to have a really awesome January. One that I can look back on in December and think: “yep, that really got my 2015 off to a good start”. And I want you all to join me! Here are my top 10 tips for making this a great month:

1) Eat out for cheap

So many bars and restaurants are offering discounts to try and lure people in over January, so take advantage and wine and dine for less. Pizza Express, Browns and Giraffe all have offers on throughout January, and if you live in Leeds try Blackhouse, Bird and Beast or Shears Yard for cheap foodie goodness.

2) Get some sleep

I don’t know about the rest of you but I am relishing my early nights after way too many late ones in December. Give your body a rest and treat yourself to some extra snoozing time in January, I guarantee that it will make you feel unstoppable.

3) Get outdoors

The weather can be great this time of year, with frosty ground and beautiful blue skies. Make the most of the winter sunshine by bundling up and getting outside – I recommend heading to the beach or to a park. Reward yourself after a big walk with some tasty fish and chips!

4) Make a 2015 bucket list

Take some time out and think about all the things that you want to do or achieve this year and make a list. It might be places that you want to travel, course that you want to do, books you want to read or just even local places you want to visit. It will be hard to feel down about a new year when you have a list of all the things you’re planning to do in front of you. You can find my 2015 bucket list here.

5) Try some new recipes

It’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut, making the same things for dinner week in, week out. Spice up your January by trying out some new recipes – here are a couple that I will be trying this month: Jamie's Chicken Kiev'sAmy's Chorizo Borlotti Beans and Rosie's Mushroom Melts.

6) Do some exercise

A cliché perhaps for January, but it’s true that getting your body moving will give you a huge mood boost. Whether you prefer Zumba-ing, swimming or a good long walk, all that matters is that you get out and get your heart pumping.

7) Do something just for you

December is always a busy month and at times it can feel like you’re being pulled in every direction. Utilise the quiet period of January by taking time out to be selfish and do things that are just for you – curl up and read a book, re-watch your fave rom coms, get your nails done… the options are endless.

8) Buy yourself a bunch of flowers

Your living room can feel a bit dreary and bare after a month of being doused in fairy lights, festive candles and glittery baubles galore. Treat yourself to a bunch of flowers to cheer the place up and give you something pretty to look at – I’m especially excited about tulips being back in season.

9) Be more mindful

Did your 2014 go by in a speedy “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of blur? If so, being more mindful might be something to add to the list for 2015. Try these 13 tips to help you be more present and in the moment: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/habits-mindful-people_n_5186510.html

10) Head to the cinema

Orange Wednesdays officially finishes in February, SOB (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30440928). Make the most of the amazing 2-4-1 deal in January by heading to the cinema to see some of the great new movies doing the rounds. Top of my list is The Theory of Everything, Annie and Big Hero 6.

11) Make one small change

With all of the fuss about “new year, new me” in January, it’s easy to set yourself a huge list of unattainable resolutions that are usually long forgotten by the time February rolls around. Instead, vow to make one small change that will have a big effect. It could be drinking more water, taking a packed lunch rather than buying one or reading more, but by starting small you will feel really proud about sticking to your change come next month.

12) Be grateful

Last but certainly not least, make a list of everything you are grateful for. Include everything, big or small, that you are glad that you have in your life and review it regularly. It’s difficult to feel glum when you see all your blessings written down in one place.