Some argue that Blue Monday isn’t really a thing. In fact, it was started in 2005 as a PR stunt for a travel company. However it’s true that people feel much sadder during the winter months, especially January. True or not, I’ve come up with some great ways on how to beat Blue Monday for you.

There is without a doubt a change in people in January, especially those in the Northern Hemisphere. The weather is cold, the days are short and everyone is broke thanks to the Christmas Holidays. The time between the Christmas holidays and your next pay check feels like forever and everyone’s throwing themselves into January sales for a bit of retail therapy.

Some people suffer from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, and just getting a special daylight lamp can help improve their mood. Others however are just brought down by the atmosphere and pressures of the new year. You’ll need a few extra tricks to help you out.

How to beat Blue Monday

Since so many people are stressed over finances in the new year, they neglect their own social lives and social activities to help reduce expenses. Logically speaking, it makes a lot of sense. However a lot of people will fall into the trap of boredom, and feel sad over a sense of missing out on something.

Humans are social creatures and we get bored easily. There are tons of great things that you can do for free. Planning lots of activities, by yourself or with friends, is an important way to help you beat the winter woes. I’ve picked out activities that are either free, or at least pretty cheap.

Go to Museums or Art Galleries 

 Museums and are galleries are a place of wonder. Many of them are completely free to enter. Forget about cliches and stereotypes, they’re certainly not just for nerds. There’s so many types, that showcase different things, you can easily do some research to find one that’s specific to your interest. They also make a great date option, giving you a chance to stroll as well as giving you topics of discussion.

Go for walks

It might be cold in Winter, but a brisk walk will warm you up. You can also walk slowly, if you’re bundled up nice and warmly. Many people see walking as a way to get from A to B. They miss out on the joys of walking, taking in your surroundings and just appreciating stuff. Find a park or woodlands near you, or simply walk around your city to discover new things. It’s also fantastic for your health. I love to walk around with my headphones on, escaping into my favourite music as I take in the world around me. If your up for it, why not take up jogging or running to really boost your fitness?

Find the library

I am a big fan of reading. I love escaping into new worlds that books offer. Of course I know a lot of people don’t like reading, and some have never read beyond what they were forced to in school. But books are wonderful, and I implore everyone to give them a try. There’s a genre for everyone. Crime and drama, historical, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, non-fiction, biographies, the list is endless. The library is a source of free books to everyone. A key to escaping into an endless possibility of worlds. If you decide you don’t like books after all, at least you didn’t waste any money on it!

Take up photography

 So many people I meet think photography needs a big expensive camera. The fact is, there have been amazing photographers around long before the latest DSLR camera came out. In fact, some of the greatest took photos on cameras less powerful than the camera built into your smart phone. You can take photos using your phone. Don’t feel self conscious about it, instead go out and look for something you find beautiful and capture it for yourself. If you decide you enjoy it, you can consider investing into the hobby in the future.

Get into cooking

Cooking is a great way of saving money. It’s amazing how much money you can spend buying lunch everyday, when you can instead make much better lunches at home for cheaper. There’s loads of great ways to get into cooking. A lot of people find they don’t have the time, but you can plan ahead and make your week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday afternoon.

It’s a great way to learn more about nutrition, and it can help you keep track of your diet. A must try for anyone who’s invested in getting healthy. There’s also other forms of cooking. Why not host a dinner party, or plan a big buffet for a sports game at your house. Invite your friends and plan to make something really good for everyone.

Try a jigsaw puzzle

I know this one sounds silly, but honestly it’s insane how invested you can get into a jigsaw puzzle. They seem boring at first, but if you really try, they can become quite addicting. The slow pace and patience of a jigsaw puzzle can feel quite zen like. On top of that, it’s an activity you can do by yourself or with others. They can be left out, so you don’t even have to complete it in one go.

Treat yourself occasionally

It’s ok to want to be financially responsible, but it’s ok to treat yourself occasionally. If this means going out for a fantastic meal one night, having a total drinking part, or even just buying the newest video game and blasting through it in one sitting, it’s ok. Just don’t do anything in excess. A treat should be occasional because it makes it more special.

Take time out to spend with your family, friends or pets. It’s good to have company, and it’s important to not be alone all the time. I love curling up with my pet cats when I’m feeling down. Or having a phone conversation with my sister. It’s always a good time to try and reconnect with those who are important to us,

Staying positive is a treat in itself as well. When you feel sad, instead of thinking of the horrible things, make a mental note of 5 things you’re really happy about today. They can be anything. But any time you feel down, just go over your list of 5 things that you’re happy about today. Staying positive is a treat for your mind, in the same  way a good bath is a treat for your body.