January in Australia has always been one of my favourite months. The middle of summer, long days spent relaxing on the beach, weeknight rooftop drinks, weekend trips to the coast and spending hours sweating it out in the sun at the Australian Open. With Australia Day and a long weekend on the horizon, January is a happy, happy time.
When we Aussies move to London, January becomes the polar opposite. In fact, Monday 19th January is referred to as Blue Monday, officially the most depressing day of 2015. The sun rises late and sets early, most of us have a 5-6 week gap from last month’s Christmas pay meaning we’re well into our overdrafts by mid-Jan, sixty percent of our friends and colleagues are attempting ‘Dry January’ and it’s not uncommon to go for a whole working week without seeing any natural sunlight what so ever. Total winter blues material.
My first winter living London was easily the toughest time of my living abroad, it felt like the cold would just never end! Now, being in my third winter, I can promise you that they get easier but only if you take positive actions to keep yourself busy and sane!
So if you’re feeling a bit down right now and blocking all Southern Hemisphere friends from your Facebook timeline isn’t a viable option, try one of these easy ways to beat the winter blues.
1) Pick up some hobbies
Now is the time to do that short course or drawing class you’ve always wanted to do. Learn a new language, find a new talent and make some new friends. Check out City Lit, The Cass or UAL for some inspiration
2) Get some fresh air
Always make time to go outside on your lunch break, even if it’s raining, even if it’s just for 5 minutes! Studies have shown that fresh air and some natural light can do wonders for our mood and overall state of mind
3) Join the gym
It’s a great way to expel some extra energy and keeps you active and busy over the cold, lazy months. Plus, it’s a known fact that summer bodies are made in the winter 😉 Check out my London Gym Membership Guide here
4) Plan your social calendar
Make an effort to catch up with your friends regularly and outside of your own homes. It’s too easy to fall into a winter rut and hibernate for weeks on end, and you’ll feel so much better if you keep socialising, making the winter will fly by that little bit faster
5) Take advantage of some fun winter activities
Ice skating, snow trips, Christmas markets, cosy cinemas, drinking mulled wine and cider, and pub hopping (that counts as an activity, right?)
6) Plan your summer holiday
Or any holiday for that matter. Knowing there’s light at the end of the tunnel and having something to look forward to is priceless! Devote your spare time to researching things to see and do on your holiday and get excited!
7) Get well-acquainted with the local
Head down to your local pub, order a hot toddie or mulled wine (or anything, really) and get comfy with a board game of your choice. Playing cards with friends in the pub is one of my all-time favourite winter activities! I highly recommend you try Monopoly Deal card game, if you haven’t already
8) Wear more colour
Colour has an effect on our psyche, whether we are aware of it or not. Bright colours and textures can enhance people’s moods as well as the moods of those around you, so give your 50 shades of grey a rest and throw in some reds, blues, pinks and greens
9) Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
If the snow won’t come to you, you go to the snow. Snow in London can be very hit and miss, some years it’s here in abundance and other years there’s not a single flake. One of the big perks of living in Europe is that you have easy access to some of the world’s best skiing resorts – take advantage of it! Check out some holiday planning websites like Snowtrex and Inghams for inspiration
10) Expand your recipe repertoire
If, like me, your cooking is lacking a little variety and you find yourself alternating between spaghetti, stir fry and strategically planned dinners out every other night, treat yourself to a new cook book and start experimenting. You’ll be hosting elaborate dinner parties before you know it! My favourite cook book at the moment is Hemsley+Hemsley (£11.95 from Amazon)
What’s your favourite way to pass the time in winter?