The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s official. It’s the most depressing day of the year this Monday. We’re not quite sure who decreed it so (it’s definitely a load of mumbo jumbo), but having been through trials of 2020, and the tribulations of the first two weeks of 2021, things do look pretty bleak… or so we thought.

There’s actually plenty to be cheery about. There’s a vaccine. Trump’s been impeached, not once, but twice. And you’re not James Howells – the man who chucked £210 million worth of bitcoin into the bin.

If that doesn’t lift your spirits, we have a few other ways to put a smile on your face.

1. Make A List Of All The Things You’re Grateful For

Pick up a pen and paper and jot down all the things you are grateful for. While it sounds trite, it actually works. It keeps your mind focused, de-stresses and generally provides a whole heap of optimism. Here’s a few on our list: our lovely newsletter subscribers, an afternoon tea at home, and a healthy dollop of these cocktails.

2. Do A Good Deed

One thing that can make you feel better is by helping someone else feel better. Apparently, the act of giving stimulates the same parts of the brain as food and sex. Invest some of your energy in supporting a charity through donations or your time, volunteering for the NHS, helping someone out at work, or simply chatting to a relative or friend who might be lonely.

3. Download These Mindfulness Apps

While too much time on your phone can make your brain stale, there are plenty of apps out there that can boost your wellbeing through chants, mediation, happy quotes and smile-inducing reminders. Try some of these to get you going.

4. Step Outside

A mere 20 minutes amongst nature (yes, London parks count) can help boost your mood according to research in Scientific Reports. Taking in fresh air and the organic beauty around us (city pigeons and mangy foxes aside) can lower stress hormone levels and boost self-esteem. Plus, any time in the daylight will help boost your depleted vitamin D resources. The Journal of Internal Medicine found that it helped people combat depression. Help yourself along the way and order a vitamin D supplement as a booster.

5. Tidy Up

Tidy house, tidy mind as they say. No idea who “they” are, but it makes sense to us. A bed piled high with dirty knickers, used condoms and filthy plates, is not going to make you feel better (although it might turn you into the next Tracey Emin). Marie Kondo your life with these simple steps and start spring cleaning for a new lease of life.

6. Exercise

Exercise has a richly a profound effect on our overall happiness and wellbeing, so much so that it’s scientifically proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. We’ve harped on a lot about exercise this month with celebrity apps, exercises you can do in front of the TV, workouts that don’t feel like workouts and ways to sync activities with your period. Try at least one of these suggestions and the results will be worth it.

7. Meditate

“Omms” and “ahhhs” may make you feel stupid but the sounds you release during a meditative session send vibrations around the body. It gives focus to mind, body and soul and is generally just super relaxing. Find out how you can use meditation to improve your sleep in four simple ways.

8. Listen To These Mood-Boosting Playlists

Do you know what is not scientifically proven, but is tried and tested by The Handbook? Dancing in your underwear to a feel-good playlist first thing in the morning. Really, try it. It’s very liberating. And if you can’t find the right tunes to wiggle to, we’ve made you a helpful playlist.  

9. Book A Holiday

Yes, we know, all flights suspended until further notice. However… nothing’s stopping you booking something for the end of the year or even 2022. Dream of lying on the beach in the Seychelles, sipping bubbles in Champagne or cruising down the Amazon and then make it a reality but getting online and making the most of some of the great deals out there. Try out these staycations for size. 

10. Turn Off Social Media

Turn off your apps now. No TikTok, no Instagram, no Facebook, and no Twitter. Essentially just take a leaf out of Trump’s book. You know deep down that stalking the TOWIE group’s trip to Dubai is going to make you feel dead inside. So don’t look. Simply, turn off your notifications and focus on doing actual work.

11. Fake Laugh

Have you ever tried fake laughing until you laugh for real? Trust us, it’s a thing. Laughter has many benefits and even simulating it can help bring them about. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen which stimulates your organs and increases endorphins. A good hearty chuckle can also relieve stress. So whether you need a stand-up comedian to get you going or want to fake it at your desk, give giggling a go.

12. Take A Day Off

We’ve all been working for what seems like forever without an actual holiday and with no end in sight. However, nothing’s stopping you having a duvet day. Put the Out of Office on, indulge in your favourite treats (Galaxy bars and Bridgeton) and while away the day doing whatever you want (mainly fake laughing).

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