January can be a sad month: the post-holiday letdown, the weather, the mid-school-year slump, the lower sunshine levels. It can also be a BROKE month as the bills start to come in from December. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to decrease the sad without increasing the broke.
1. Sunshine. If it’s in short supply where you are, you may need to grab your moments. We have one particular window that’s aimed to catch any midday sun there is, and on bad days you can find me with my face almost pressed against the glass. I close my eyes and upturn my face and admire the pretty pink-orange color of the inside of my eyelids. The light and warmth and vitamin D are like a shot of…wheatgrass, or something. Without the gagging.
2. Artificial light. If you’re out of luck, sun-wise, turn on lots of lights near you. Especially on dark mornings I find it heartening to make it nice and bright in the kitchen while I make breakfasts, pack lunches, and nag children.
3. Caffeine. Er, duh? But I was a coffee-nonappreciator until I was nearly 30, so I had to learn that the judicious application of caffeinated products is like the judicious application of skin cream: small effort and big pay-off.
4. Music. Perky, not moody.
5. One minute of exercise. This is particularly helpful for draggy, sleepy, chilly moods. If you work from home, do a lap around the house when you go out for the mail (bonus: irritating neighbors start keeping their distance!). In an office environment, perhaps you could do a few jumping jacks in the bathroom, unless it’s one of those multi-stall affairs in which case maybe you’d better find a broom closet or something more private.
6. Cheap funnies. I have funny blogs on my blogroll and funny books on my bookshelves and a funny page-a-day calendar on my desk.
7. Cheap pretties. I’m fully aware of how lame this sounds, but, er, I do find it uplifting to buy a new, brightly-colored….no, I can’t say it. Nobody is going to go out and buy a brightly-colored facecloth. But I swear it’s uplifting! Also effective: Target earrings, drugstore lipstick, clearance stationery, etc.
8. Old television shows. This worked for me during postpartum, too: when I felt sad and despairing, I’d watch Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, The Muppet Show, The Brady Bunch.
9. Hot meals. This isn’t easy, but I swing it whenever it can be swung, because it is so worth it for morale. When I do cook, I make big batches: microwaved leftovers are just as hot-mealish to me. And take-out totally counts as long as it doesn’t get cold on the way home.
10. Pig pile. Lie on a forgiving surface, such as a bed or a plush carpet. Allow small children and/or animals to climb on you. The damaging of the bod is worth the restorething of the soul.
11. Shoot, now it’s exactly ten ideas, so it’ll look like I forced it to come out even.