I had a chat with a colleague in the lift the other day; I usually only see her in the lift and so our chats are mostly about how cold or sunny or rainy it is. This time it was the first week back at work after New Year and the chat went something like, oh isn’t this week dragging, oh isn’t it depressing that it’s January already and oh isn’t it horrid to have such dark and cold evenings without that festive feeling anymore. I can’t tell you how many times I have had these January conversations over the years with various people in lifts or in corridors, and believe me, the more you have them, the worse you start to feel about the long month ahead. To add insult to injury, you’ve got no money because you got paid early in December, and therefore no weekend plans because you can’t afford them. There’s no Christmas TV and no excuse for evenings at home with mulled wine. It’s cold. You wake up and it’s dark, you get home and it’s dark. If you’re clever you’re already a gym goer and you can tell everyone you’re going to spend January hammering it every night in the spin studio. Whatever the case, January won’t be fun.
About three years ago, I had had enough of bemoaning an entire month so I decided to start planning ahead so that January would be bloody fantastic. Just as fantastic as December in fact. Here are my top five tips on how to win at January…
Book a holiday now
There is no reason not to have a sunny holiday in January. Put aside five days of your holiday allocation, book yourself a week away, and pay for it while you actually have money in the bank. I can assure you it’s one helluva warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that while Christmas is over it’s only a few weeks until you jet off somewhere exciting. I like a snow holiday so I hit the slopes in January, but if you’re a sun-bunny, there are plenty of destinations to take you away from the dark and dreary UK days. The Canary Islands, Morocco and Dubai are all doable in a week or less, or consider a lazy week a bit further afield (Florida, the Caribbean) or go all out for a sun-filled adventure (Goa, Gambia, Vietnam). Go on, do it now, ask your boss for those five days and start googling winter sun.
(Antigua: from The Telegraph‘s top picks for winter sun)
Plan a day out with the girls
For years my girlfriends and I used to plan a Christmas get-together in December. Then we all started moving house, moving further away from each other, then husbands and kids started arriving, and after that diaries just got impossible to align. If that sounds familiar, make sure you don’t lose your tradition, just plan for a girls’ get-together in January. This month, we’ve got a posh afternoon tea (which was paid for ages ago so it’s practically going to be free… ok it’s not, but, you know what I mean) and a trip to see La La Land afterwards. I can’t wait.
Book a night at the theatre
You could probably book loads of theatre nights, music concerts or comedy gigs as far in advance as you like. Dates for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are already planned for January 2018 or you could treat yourself to a long-running classic like Les Miserables or The Mousetrap. Or try something a bit different; this month a friend and I went along to the immersive theatre production of Trainspotting at the Vaults in Waterloo – which we’d paid for about two months ago.
Embrace cheap and cheerful
Cheer yourself up with one cheap activity per week, and you’ll always have something to look forward to. Last week the Mr and I went bowling. This week a friend and I tried the new DUM Biryani in Soho (massively recommended by the way). Or host a Friday night picnic at yours with friends – everyone raids their fridge for leftovers, everyone buys a few bits from Sainsbury’s and everyone brings a bottle. A few tunes and some good conversation, you might as well be at the pub, but it’s probably going to be more fun.
And if all else fails…
Have a night in with a hottie. The fine figure of Tom Hardy graces Saturday nights in new series Taboo while the suave Benedict Cumberbatch continues in the new and brilliant Sherlock on Sundays. And if you haven’t seen it yet, please share in my girl crush and start watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix. I haven’t LOL’d so much at a series in years; the wonderfully flawed, funny, feminist, intelligent and cringe-worthy character of Rebecca Bunch sings about period sex and makes nerdy jokes about Pi (as in, 3.14159) while her co-characters have some of the best lines on TV, ever.
Now January isn’t so bad after all…