I know what you are thinking, “Don’t tell me to exercise more when the gyms are packed to the rafters in January!”
And I hear you loud and clear. January is a tough month for most of us. And that is the last time I am going to state the obvious. Let’s talk about creative and less obvious ways to get through this dark, cold and financially challenging month.
Here are a few things that will not add to your seasonal credit card debt, but will boost your mood and make the month go quicker.
Approach the gym differently
If, like me, you are a regular gym-goer, then also like me, you will probably resent the January crowds in the gyms. All the local ‘New Year’s Resolutioners’ are packing the place out. Every treadmill is taken, and there is a queue for the weight machines. Yikes!
My recommendation here is to try something different, such as a gym class you have never taken before. Every gym has one or two classes that never fill up. They are either too early in the morning for the New Year crowd, or they are a little bit obscure.
Why not try something different? It is good for your brain as well as your body. Just for this month at least, you can leave the treadmills to the others.
Get outside, even if it is cold
I have recently joined a walking group, and we are soldiering on all through the winter. I know it is going to get colder before it gets warmer, but it still beats having cabin fever. During the darker days we need to grab all the Vitamin D we can get.
The cold will not bite if you dress appropriately. Walking is free. Conversation is free. And guess what? Both boost your mood too!
Team up with friends
If you are feeling the financial pinch after Christmas, the chances are that your friends are too. I bet they are also a little bored with the cold, gray weather. Why not team up and have some low-budget fun together?
Organizing a games night at somebody’s house can be a great way to get friends together without the expense of going out on the town. The kids can have a sleepover upstairs, so no babysitting costs either. Everybody can bring something for the buffet, and then there is no stress about catering.
There is something rather charming and retro about board games. Or if you prefer, video games with multi-player options are always popular. Honestly, who does not secretly love the competitiveness of the dance mat?
Go easy on yourself
I know that on top of being cold, bored and financially stretched, we also tend to punish ourselves a little in January. New Year’s Resolutions can bring on something of an existential crisis if we overthink our goals.
I once spent two weeks in January without caffeine in an attempt to ‘detox’ my body. In retrospect, I was just punishing myself. Although it is a great time of year to take stock and re-adjust our course for the New Year, remember to mix in a little self-care too.
You are allowed to eat carbs if you want to. If you are sleepy, you may have coffee, chocolate or whatever you like. Just aim for moderation, not famine or feast. Remember to keep active, and do not let the financial pinch isolate you. You can socialize without spending money.
Get out there and have a fantastic New Year!