Sometimes January is all a bit much isn’t it? As if the dark nights and cold weather weren’t depressing enough, everyone then decides to stamp out any fun by cutting out alcohol and going to the gym. Then there’s the matter of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me started on those. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve said I’ll call my parents more, or answer all my emails, or write down my to-do list for the day.
So this year, select a fun resolution. Something you’ll actually want to do, and something that will add a smile to your face, because after last year, we all need that.
It’s so fun spending time being creative and so many of us did it during lockdown – whether that was through knitting, sewing, baking, doodling or taking photos. And it’s proven to be good for you. Bupa says that repetitive activities like drawing, knitting and painting help to flood your brain with the feel-good chemical dopamine. I, for one, have been encouraged by a friend to take up embroidery. It also doubles up as an opportunity to make presents, such as decorating a zip-up bag for my nieces. You can find some neat and colourful thread boxes on Amazon, as well as easy patterns on Etsy.
If art is more your bag, there are also opportunities to do some art classes with some of the best institutions in the city, such as London Drawing run by Tate Modern. In lieu of its normal walk-in sessions, the gallery is doing live streaming events, from life drawing to creative drawing, as well as on-demand videos which require a small contribution. It means that when the museums and galleries are back open for inspiration, you’ll be ready and waiting with pencil in hand.
Further on from this, why not try some cooking courses at home? Here is a list of the 9 best online courses that we’ve put together, from whipping up fresh Italian pasta to baking your own biscuits.
Pick Up A Book
Have you tried multiple times to get into the habit of reading? It’s so difficult to find the time, and while you probably have a nice pile waiting to be read by the side of your bed, the pages are still untouched. A good way to force yourself to do it, is by asking your friends to set up a book club. Or you can join an online one. Lots of celebs have their own reading lists and Insta communities of bookworms, from Emma Watson to Reese Witherspoon. Or you can join London-influencer Poppy Loves and take part in discussions on her Facebook page.
If a book really is too much, then why not stick to just learning a new word a day? There’s an app for everything, and there’s an app for this. Try Word of The Day to get you started.
Take Photos (And Print Them)
We all spend so much time on our phones, and yet, how many of your photos do you have around the house? One of my friends has a disposable camera – remember those? And she takes it out with her every week to take a photo that inspires her. Whether that’s having coffee with a friend, walking through a pretty park or snapping a shop she used to enjoy browsing. Why not take up the challenge. If nothing else, it makes you appreciate the little things. And then you can put them in some fancy frames around the house. Try these ones from Oliver Bonas.
Use Less Plastic
As a general way forward, it’s time to take better care of our planet. Instead of buying loads of plastic shampoo bottles, why not try one of these plastic-free bars from Better Considered instead? Not only do they use less plastic, all of their products are created by people who are visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged to help nurture these often under-supported communities.
We’ve also made a list of ways you can swap out plastics for reusable and refillable items, from washing up liquid to growing your own produce. It’s the little things that count, like buying secondhand or removing all the plastics bags in the house – just make sure to hang up a canvas version by the front door so you don’t forget.
Support A Charity
While we’re on the theme of being good citizens, why not invest some time and money (if you have it after Covid) to support those in greater need. It’s been a brutal time for many, and there are so many wonderful organisations to support. Here is a list of 9 charities that help rough sleepers throughout the city where you can gift food parcels, volunteer or provide donations. And then at least you know that in month 1 of your new year’s resolutions, you’ve made more of a difference than the whole of last year. That’s a pretty good start.