The Handbook
The Handbook

January is tough at the best of times; the Christmas comedown has set in, the bank balance is looking bleak and don’t get us started on the weather. Add to that the pressure of making and not breaking new year resolutions and an Instagram feed full of ‘inspiring’, ‘motivational’ quotes that are supposedly going to help us ‘smash our goals’ and ‘live our dreams’ in 2020.

With one in four people in the UK experiencing mental health problems, it’s about time we were all a little kinder to ourselves when it comes to the pressure a new year can bring.

Here, we’ve rounded up eight easy ways to boost your mood, from upping your exercise to aiding your sleep.

1. Get Walking

Walking is good for your physical health, your bank balance and your mental health. It’s thought that if you’re physically active then you have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed. Walk to work, walk along the Thames, head out to one of the parks or Hampstead Heath.

If you’re in need of inspiration on where to go walking or want to meet up with likeminded people, check out walkforhealth.org.uk. Simply put in your postcode and they will tell you about hundreds of local walks across the capital.

2. Listen To Music

Music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical, so get your uplifting playlist on the go or, better still, go out and find some live music. London is one of the world’s richest cities when it comes to music, with amazing live music venues all over the place. Whether you’re into rock ‘n’ roll or love a bit of jazz, check out our roundup of the best live music venues.

If you’re keen to see more live music in 2020 but want to veer away from the mainstream, check out Sofa Sounds.  These one of a kind, intimate gigs are held in unique venues across the capital, from someone’s living room to an old antique shop. Spanning all genres from Grime to Brit-Pop and spoken word, there are gigs on throughout the year to suit everyone’s tastes or open them up to new things. Simply sign up, apply and if you’re selected for your chosen gig you can buy the tickets. For more information check out www.sofarsounds.com

3. Eat Comfort Food

You don’t need us to tell you that there is more to life than counting calories. Granted, a healthy diet is going to keep you feeling better in the long run, but it’s important to have balance. If you want to indulge now and again, it’s absolutely fine.

Check out our comfort food guide for the best places to get your carb fix, here.

4. Laughter Is The Best Medicine

A good laugh is sure to boost your mood and get those endorphins going. So head to one of London’s best comedy clubs for a night of quick wit and topical mirth. From old institutions to modern venues, check out our edit of the best places to get your belly laughs in, here.

5. Get More Sleep

This one is a no brainer, if you want to feel better, get more sleep. We all know that lack of sleep makes us irritable, then we reach for more caffeine, which means we sleep less at night and then a vicious circle starts. You’re not alone, London is a city of insomniacs and not always by choice. The average Brit gets around 6.5 hours of sleep per night, yet we’re frequently told a solid eight is the secret to a better mood, better focus and better skin.

Getting more sleep in our hectic lives is admittedly hard to do, but there are plenty of ways to get you counting sheep. For serious insomniacs, there’s the London Sleep Centre where a team of snooze experts offer a wealth of treatments from behavioural therapy to acupuncture.

So obsessed with the S word are we that this year London is getting it’s very own hotel – the Zedwell – which has been specifically designed to limit anxiety, lack of sleep and distractions. It opens February 2020. More information can be found here.

For something quite different, there’s Floatworks – basically a brand that will put you in a giant pod, filled with half a tonne of Epsom salts and hopefully send you off into a dreamy slumber. The salt supposedly allows you to float effortlessly and give the feeling of complete weightlessness. It’s usually pitch black and silent in the pod too which can make you to go into a deep state of relaxation and serenity. Sound mad? It is a little but it’s certainly relaxing and it is said to aid everything from bad sleep to stress relief. It’s certainly one way to spend your lunch break.

6. Try Something New

Getting stuck in a rut is a sure-fire way to make you feel down. Routine is good but doing the same thing day after day is boring. Shake things up this year, whether it be with a new workout or something completely bonkers that you’ve never tried. Expand your mind, face your fears and ultimately have fun. For inspiration, check out our round-up of the TedTalks that are going to inspire your 2020.

Online porthole Masterclass is the place to head to learn a new skill from the experts. Their one of a kind masterclass plans take the world’s best and create masterclasses that can be downloaded and learnt from through your computer or phone. And when we say best, we mean the likes of Anna Wintour, Annie Leibovitz, Margaret Atwood, Hans Zimmer, Martin Scorsese, Gordon Ramsay and Malcom Gladwell to name just a few.

7. Practise Mindfulness

It’s not surprising that Calm was previously named Apple’s App of the Year, no doubt thanks to the fact that we’re a generation in need of downtime. There are plenty of ways to get your om on.  Check out these expert meditation tips from yogi and health and wellbeing expert, Julie Montagu, here. 

Or check out Covent Garden’s Inner Space – a meditation and personal development centre offering classes and workshops on everything from learning to be more positive to boosting your self-esteem and even lunchtime meditation classes.

8. Get Exercising

Get the endorphins pumping, get rid of the toxins and sweat it out. Yes, when you’re feeling down, putting your trainers on and getting out of the house is anything but ideal, but as the saying goes, you never regret a workout. Check out our guide to some of the most luxurious gyms in London, because exercising is always more fun when you can head to a state of the art spa after.