Ah, new year. On the one hand, it’s exciting, isn’t it? It’s that new-term feeling – sharp pencils and white pages, a clean slate, fresh avocados and new wardrobes - a chance to become one of those thin blonde people on Instagram who apparently get paid to do yoga poses on beaches. (No shade here - #dreamlife, you go huns). The trouble is, whilst Instagram-January is gorgeous and shiny and new, you may be noticing that IRL January is err – kind of crap, isn’t it? Less avocados on toast, more long, gloomy days at work, nobody wanting to go on nights out, everybody on a diet, no money, no wine, all the fairy lights put away, all the sparkle somehow gone. If you’re not careful you can spend the newest part of the new year feeling a bit sad and flat and grey, and you know what? That’s just a waste. So here are 10 tips to get you feeling like the best version of yourself this new year – both in January and beyond!
N.B. I have tried not to be patronising and state the obvious like ‘drink more water’ (yes okay, everyone should drink more water, but it tastes of nothing, and weeing at work every five minutes is really bloody annoying, and the last time I carried a water bottle I spilt it in my bag and ruined my favourite powder compact) or ‘eat more vegetables’ or anything else that will make you want to do an eye roll and say ‘Jesus, thanks Sherlock.’ But if I have, soz. Your girl tried. Onwards.
1. Go shopping for new clothes
YEAH I started with a good one didn’t I? But honestly, I know you’re probably looking at me like ‘uh, yeah, that’d be fab, but I have £10.31 to last me until the end of January and I am already living on freezer food.’ I KNOW, it’s a hard world. But this year, the shops seem to have cottoned onto the fact that we’re all poor and sad, and prices are reflected accordingly. There are still some amazing sales ongoing and a lot of the online stores have moved some new line stuff straight into them, with others (like SheInside and the Body Shop, for example) giving money off across the whole site. (I won’t list them all because plenty of other bloggers have done so – go hit up their affiliate links). So if you got any vouchers for Christmas, or have any pennies left at all, hit the shops now. I’ve made a little Missguided order today and it’s cheered me up no end – looking at you, beautiful goldshirt of dreams.
And if you don’t have any pennies…
2. Clear out your closest and set yourself up on eBay/depop
Having a clear out is one of the easiest ways to free up both money and space in your wardrobe at the same time. If you’re anything like me, your wardrobe will be overflowing with clothes, but you never have anything to wear. Take a Saturday, try it all on, decide if you like it and if you don’t – sell it (or chuck it, if it’s got a hole in it or has a stain on it where your dog was sick on it or whatever). If you can’t decide if you like something, my mum once said to me ‘if your ex-boyfriend saw you in it, would you be happy?’ If not, it goes in the no pile. (Clothes that don’t fit but you want to slim into – you can keep some, but not in your wardrobe. Put them in another cupboard somewhere – it’s just depressing looking at them every day!)
3. Buy flowers
A bunch of beautiful flowers costs about £5 from Waitrose. It’s a luxury everyone can and should afford. It’s not just that flowers look pretty in my flat – it’s that they make me feel like the kind of put-together person who buys fresh flowers. Next up, I want a beautiful orchid to put in my kitchen – but bearing in mind I once killed a cactus, we’ll have to wait and see how that one goes.
4. Find exercise you love
It honestly took me until last year to realise I don’t hate exercise, I hate the gym. Running in the open air, on the other hand? I absolutely love it. Conversely, my sister loves the gym – she couldn’t wait to get back after having her baby. Make this the month you try out some new forms of exercise – and if you like them, carry on. If you don’t? Stop. I want to try hot yoga, because I’ve always liked the idea of it, and just trying something new is enough to make you feel proud of yourself for not spending the evening slumped on the sofa, right?
5. Make everything smell good
This is kind of a weird one, but I read on the Decorista blog that she sprays everything with perfume – even her lingerie drawers – and that it gives her that little feeling of luxury. Since then I’ve been making an effort to make sure everything smells nice and honestly, it makes SUCH a difference. A luxury candle in my kitchen, a perfume atomiser in my handbag for daily touch ups, even a gorgeous smelling hand cream – it just adds that something extra to your day.
6. Read more – for fun
This is one of my new year’s resolutions, so it’s kind of cheating. But sometimes I think reading is so snobby- it’s all about learning something, or working through ‘100 books you must read,’ or being able to drop into conversation that you’re halfway through something very clever and important, and somewhere along the way it stops being fun. This January, read something you like. A book you loved in your childhood, or trashy chick lit, or a murder mystery that makes you scared to turn the lights off, a cook book with recipes you know you’ll never make – it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter if it’s just an old copy of Vogue. Just curl up with a hot drink and a couple of squares of chocolate and read, for fun, because you can, and because it gives your fingers a break from flicking through Instagram.
7. Buy the things that make your life easier
I mean: kitchen roll. Do you know how often I find I don’t have any kitchen roll? Honestly, constantly, and then I’m trying to clean a glass table with a tea towel, and kitchen roll costs about 99p, so what is the point? Why am I making my life so difficult? All the things you make do without for no real reason, that make your life that little bit harder – buy them. Flannels. Nail polish remover and cotton wool pads. Sellotape. Biros. Do a bulk order on Amazon and don’t think about them again for the rest of the month.
8. Buy a fancy fabric conditioner
Sniff them all in Tesco (like, not too deeply, don’t inhale them and pass out), pick one that costs £3 and smells like honeysuckle and lily pads on a spring day or whatever. Then scoop up all your underwear, pyjamas and bed linen (once you’ve decluttered it, obvs). Use more than the recommended amount. Trust me on this one.
9. Apply your moisturiser properly
I had my make up done at the Charlotte Tilbury counter recently, and I was amazed at how long it took them to apply my moisturiser. They really took their time, patting it round the delicate eye area then massaging it into the rest of the skin. I’ve been doing it ever since with my (much less expensive) moisturiser (I use the Vitamin E one from the Body Shop, if you were interested) and my skin feels nourished and amazing, plus it takes no time at all and it’s such a relaxing, nice thing to do for yourself every morning and night.
10. Don’t beat yourself up
If you skip the gym for a week. Or get home and eat two Babybels, a slightly stale mince pie and half a pot of Nutella straight from the fridge before dinner. Or drink six glasses of wine instead of the doctor-recommended one at work drinks on a Friday night. Just because it’s January, you aren’t going to magically turn into a new person, so give yourself a break. As the esteemed John Steinbeck once said, ‘And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.’
What are your tips for surviving January?