Let’s be honest. Anyone who claims to be a fan of January is lying through their big, smug teeth. How can it be possible unless you are a fan of depressing, dark mornings, heavy London workloads and no prospect of any fun holiday coming up?
January is depressing. The heady delights of the festive period are over and the New Year stretches before you like a never-ending path of work, debt and no fun.
Everyone sets out the New Year with such good intentions. In fact, a recent survey by Oxfam stated that over 34 million adults in Great Britain intended to make a New Year’s resolution – that’s impressive stuff. Shame then, that the majority of them are broken just a week later. Me, I’ve quit smoking – for the fifth time. This time I’m 78 per cent positive that it’s for good, but never say never, eh?
If it’s not stopping smoking – certainly among my fellow Londoners – it’s committing to do yoga, the solemn vow to give up carbs (which works well until the Sunday hangover) or, if you are really going for it, the vow to give up alcohol (why?). All of these are just screaming to be broken and that’s why I think resolutions are a load of rubbish.
Instead, I challenge you to follow my six steps to surviving the first 31 days of the year in the capital. I promise it will be way more fun than only eating rice cakes and drinking green tea.
1. Leave your Christmas decorations up
I took my decorations down the other day and was filled with what can only be described as despair. As I viewed my naked lounge I noticed with sadness that it was no longer a fun grotto filled with tinsel and fairy lights; instead it was just…my lounge. Surely, there should be some kind of phasing-out period where you take down the tree but introduce a smaller plant?
All of you out there who have given up drinking, I salute you. However, the way I see it, why would you give up such a fun activity at the most un-fun time of the year? Surely a few tipples is what you need to get through it? More often than not it will be dark and rainy as you exit the office in the evening and the tube will be inevitably crammed with people just like you who can’t wait to get home and do nothing. I ask you, what’s the rush?
Why not nip into one of London’s many pubs and have a drink to make that commute and inevitable soaking on the way home seem less of a pain? This is a tried and tested method and, because so many foolish Londoners are vowing off fun of any kind this January, there are never any queues, you can always find a seat and there’s never a queue for the ladies. In other words, January is the best time to go out.
3. Get cultured
Come on people – we live in London! One of the greatest cities in the entire world. We should be getting out there and experiencing it rather than holing ourselves up at the weekends and after work.
I totally understand the draw of leaving the curtains closed, changing into your pyjamas as soon as you get home from work and drinking cup after cup of tea but why not make an effort and actually go and see some stuff? If those Christmas debts are catching up with you there is so much free stuff to do in London that really you should make the most of while you still have the motivation of discovering a ‘new you’ to power you on.
Plus, when those smug people who have given up chocolate, carbs, fags, booze and anything that remotely resembles fun are bragging to you, you can quickly shut them down by saying: ‘Have you seen the new exhibition at the National Gallery? No? Oh dear, well you simply must,’ and walk away looking all cultured and interesting.
4. Spend money
Who cares about the debt that you clocked up over Christmas buying your mum that much-needed foot spa and your dad every book ever written by an England cricketer? The way that I see it, if it’s already happening, why not make it a little worse?
Hit the January sales and treat yourself to that hat that you’ll more than likely only ever wear once but that you love. Get yourself online and book yourself a little holiday so that you have something to look forward to.
5. Ignore the news
I started the year reading every newspaper I could get my hands on then quickly realised it was zapping my already dwindling Christmas spirit. Forget that you are an adult, shake your head apologetically at the nice man handing out the Evening Standard, pop in your earphones and dance your way home.
6. Make work fun
I think that we will all agree that an office in January is not a fun place to be. All of the stuff that you had been putting off until after Christmas sits untouched in your inbox flagged in red and begging to be dealt with. People are setting themselves targets and discussing goals for the New Year and everyone – I mean everyone – is ill. Fear not; the workplace does not have to be a place to fear in January. I recommend making yourself a to-do list and cracking on. Take delight in ticking things off in different-colour pens and using different-colour Post-it notes to your heart’s content.
Another way to make things fun is to volunteer to make your colleagues as much tea and coffee as possible; this way everyone will be jacked up on caffeine and full of energy, days will go faster and people will be more fun. Who cares if they have a caffeine crash when they get home? You won’t be around to pick up the pieces.
And there you have it: my six ways to make January bearable.
Image courtesy of Paul McGhie