The mince pie box is empty, the weather is awful, Christmas has cleared out your bank account and you’re back to work – it’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago you were in party mode and having the time of your life.
But help is at hand: avoid the horrors of Blue Monday – officially the most miserable day of the year, which generally falls in the last full week of January when the Christmas credit card bills arrive and your New Year resolution will-power is fading – by keeping some of the festive season’s traditions alive and kicking.
There’s no need to roast a turkey every day or pull crackers, but there are some holiday habits that you should observe for more than just a few days a year.
Adrian Flux Insurance Services has some suggestions to help you keep a little bit of Christmas spirit all year round – and they don’t just involve drinking the Christmas spirits from the drinks cabinet, although that may help too (unless you continue to the hangover stage).
While you’re adding some festive flavour to the other 11 months of the year, make sure you give your finances a spring clean by checking that you’re getting the very best deal on your insurance – Flux is a specialist broker that can help with almost every form of insurance, from vehicle to home, travel to young drivers, so get in touch and we can present (see what we did there?) you with offers that aren’t just for Christmas, they’re for life. Well, 12 months.
Festive traditions that you should keep up all year round:
1) Have a gratitude attitude. Saying thank you at Christmas is second nature, but when it comes to saying thank you to the people who help us all year round, some of us are a little lacking. Researchers from the University of Birmingham have discovered that people who are regularly grateful and say thank you sleep better, are healthier and have decreased stress. No need to thank us, just pay it forward.
2) Don’t save the best china for one meal a year and don’t wait until Christmas before you get the whole family together again. Having a meal with your loved ones strengthens bonds, links generations to each other and means you’ve got lots of people to help with the washing up. Hopefully.
3) Not many of us make it through Christmas without opening our lungs for a quick burst of Silent Night or Little Town of Bethlehem (or Happy by Pharrell Williams). Singing out loud not only gives the body a massive feel-good serotonin boost, it’s great for heart health. According to Heart Health UK, singing exercises the upper body muscles and increases oxygenation to the blood. Regular singers live longer than those that keep their mouths shut – so ignore your family when they complain about your tone-deaf rendition of Dancing Queen, you’re keeping healthy!
4) Most of us are more excited on Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day itself: this is because anticipation is actually good for our mental health. Researchers at the Cornell University in America discovered that looking forward to experiences makes people happier. So dig out your diary and make some plans for the coming weeks – they don’t have to be big or expensive, but having something to look forward to will carry you through dark, miserable days.
5) Your Christmas tree is very probably a brown-tinged skeleton in your garden, a constant, mocking reminder of the fun you’re not having now. Firstly, dispose of it. Secondly, think about bringing a little bit more nature into your home all year round – it can help a house to feel fresh and clean. Use houseplants and freshly-cut flowers and try to reflect the seasons in your choices, which will bring you into synch with the natural world. Man.
6) People tend to be more charitable at Christmas when they reflect on how lucky they are – but charities need our help all year round. Try to donate your time and your money to helping a cause that’s close to your heart this year. Spreading goodwill means you’ll feel better about yourself, so it’s win-win.
7) In our electronic world, sometimes the only time any of us send a card in the post is at Christmas. Make a pact to send more cards – and not just for special occasions. Receiving mail (that doesn’t involve a demand) is always a treat.
8) At Christmas, it’s all about giving. Unless you’re a toddler or a teenager, in which case it’s all about grabbing. Keep up the spirit of Christmas without causing pain to your bank account by other ways to give: hold doors open for people, let them out in busy traffic, offer compliments and do favours without expecting anything in return.
9) For some people, the only time they think about additional lighting in their home is at Christmas when they untangle a set of furiously blinking multi-coloured fairy lights. If you feel bluer in the winter, consider looking into special lighting that combats Seasonal Affective Disorder. Look at www.lumie.com/ for more help.
10) Eat more Brussels sprouts. Banish all thoughts of flatulent Uncle Philip and think of the superfood potential of this bright green vitamin machine. Sprouts are power-packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C and help strengthen your bones with vitamin K. Health experts believe they have cancer protecting properties, too. Give them a tasty twist with a grain mustard and maple syrup glaze, dip them in cheese fondue, add them to stir fries just don’t boil them to a stinky, cabbagey death.
* Contact Adrian Flux at www.adrianflux.co.uk or call 0330 1231232.