Smash the winter blues for free

It’s been a mouldy old winter for most of us: cold, dark, rainy, strapped for cash and filled with germs and snuffles. Are you feeling a bit, well, blah right now?

I thought it’d be fun to come up with a few free ideas to help get our collective mojos back. Add some of your own too, please. Here we go:

1. Scrub up. Get in the shower and have a good old scrub to get your circulation going and slough off those old, dead skin cells. No need to buy anything new for this one, just dust off an old flannel or back brush, or whip up some home made sugar scrub for a treat.

2. De-scale yourself. Sort out any scaly, dried-out body skin by applying your usual body lotion and letting it sink in, then adding a layer of olive oil over the top of it. Wrap cling-film over the area you’re treating, add warm, loose clothing and relax for an hour or two before removing and gently wiping off any excess.

3. Have an early night. Costs nothing, makes you feel better. May include opportunity to get frisky.

4. Less caffeine, less alcohol, more water. You don’t need fancy bottled stuff from a volcano in Fiji or a mountain in the Alps, tap or filtered water is fine.

5. Have a laugh. Watch or listen to some comedy: dig out or borrow a DVD, record something from the TV, or track down podcasts and iPlayer offerings. Less cheap and cheerful, more free and cheerful.

6. Make a menu. You can do this online or on a scrap of paper – plan some tasty, balanced meals for the coming week. Also handy if you’re trying to eat more fruit and veg, or trying to lose a little weight. No need to buy a cookbook if you don’t want to, there’s plenty of inspiration at BBC Food or . The planning stage is free, and nearly always saves money on your groceries.

7. Get some exercise. Do you have fitness equipment lying around? Use it. You can also re-use or borrow some fitness DVDs, and Sky users have access to free exercise channels with a range of different workouts. Or just get some warm clothes on and go out for a stomp around the block. You can also try one of January’s many free 3-day trials that are being offered by different gyms all around the UK.

8. Sort something out. Pick a task you can realistically complete before the end of the month and get it out of the way. This could be anything from sorting out the mending pile to filing a self-assessment tax return. Or just tidy up your sock drawer. Whatever you like, so long as it makes everyday life that little bit easier.

9. Join in. Be part of something bigger than yourself – join an interest group, pledge to fundraise for a charity, become part of a community.

10. Learn something new. Try your local library for language tapes, do a free online course to learn computer or other skills, or try your local council or college for evening classes. There isn’t always a price tag attached.

11. Feel the luxury. Drag out something you usually keep for ‘best’. Put the best linen on the bed, wear your favourite clothes, put on your lucky pants. Set the table for dinner. Enjoy some of the nicer things you already have around you.

Because January doesn’t have to suck.

Any ideas of your own for beating the winter blues?

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  1. You’re a mind reader! January does suck! I’ve already planned menus for the end of the month, scrubbed and buffed and moisturised my body until it squeaks, rolled around the lounge on my fit ball and cleared out my closet, as well as imbibing water and raisins! Happy new year!

  2. Hi Faith – nice to see you’re beating the winter blues too! Are those fit balls any good? I was thinking about getting one for sit-ups. P x

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