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January 16th is Blue Monday. For the uninitiated, that means it’s the most miserable day of the year. And even if you weren’t already aware that it had a name, you might well have felt its effects. The holidays are over, it’s getting dark early, the weather is terrible… I could go on, but it’s just really bloody depressing. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s easy to bypass the Blue Monday feels, and we have a few ideas for how to do just that:

Plan a trip

What’s the best thing to do when it’s miserable, and dark, and everybody’s in a bad mood? Get away from it all! Whether you set off on a month-long European odyssey, or just spend a day exploring a nearby city, a change of scene can be just the thing to give you a new perspective. Even just booking a trip and getting yourself prepared ahead of time can blow away the Blue Monday blues.

Relax

Another thing that makes Blue Monday the beast that it is is the fact that you’re probably still catching up on work. Things pile up over the Christmas break and it’s almost enough to make you wish you’d never been away. But no more thinking like that, please. Take some time out, practice some breathing, even try some meditation. Even twenty minutes can be enough to remind you that there’s life beyond your overloaded in tray.

Get moving

Exercise has loads of benefits, one of the main ones being the ability to make you feel happier. You gotta love those endorphins. Make sure you get your fix on Blue Monday and you’ll sail through the day. The good news is you don’t even have to drag yourself to the gym if it’s cold out. Try anything from yoga to belly dance right from the comfort of your own home.

Express yourself

There’s nothing to be gained by keeping your feelings bottled up. It’ll just make you more likely to want to punch someone in the back of the head when they’re walking too slowly in front of you on the way home and- Ahem. OK, maybe that’s my personal issue. But the point still stands. It’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you if you don’t find a way to release them. So we recommend doing that.

Do something creative

As well as being a way to express yourself, getting creative can help you let go of Blue Monday by making you feel productive. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing in the world better than feeling productive. You might choose to learn to draw, or to sew, or any number of other creative pursuits, but whatever you choose it’ll help you to forget about feeling stressed.

Take action

At the heart of all of this Blue Monday talk is one question. Why is it so depressing? If it’s more than just the weather, and you’ve found yourself surrounded by work you no longer care about, maybe it’s time to do something drastic. How about starting your own business? Even becoming your own boss full time? It’s a way to bring back the passion to your life which should, in turn, help to banish the blues.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that we’ve covered the Monday blues before, but Blue Monday is like a regular Monday on speed. How will you be showing the demons who’s boss on January 16th?

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.