Wowee! Lockdown number 3, January blues and mid winter all coinciding. What a time to be alive! But one of our FAVOURITE ever quotes has to be from Lord of the Rings. In the middle of a desperate situation, author JRR Tolkien had the wizard Gandalf share a very special bit of wisdom with the hobbit Frodo:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We’re tempted to leave it there to be honest! It gets us every time - in only a few lines it gently reminds us that we have the power to choose what to do next.
January can be tough any year. We’re not even going to list the reasons why because if you’re feeling sad, you probably don’t need to be reminded why. We’re here to let you know you’re definitely not alone, January CAN be hard, but it does get better. And don’t forget, if you’re really struggling, organisations like the Samaritans are always there for you to speak to.
If you’re anything like us then one of the first things you do when you’re feeling a bit blue is to hop onto the old internet for inspiration and comfort. But ditch the cat memes and endless scroll for these 5 ways to beat the January blues. We’ve included an introduction to DCS At Home, bringing professionally trained cooking lessons into your own kitchen over Zoom. You can even invite friends and family online for a kitchen party! Find out more in our “Devon Cookery School’s top 5 tips to beat January blues”:
1. Go outside… with purpose
Going outside to feel better is pretty obvious. It’s usually top of any self care list - reconnect with nature, get moving, get fresh air. But it can be hard to motivate yourself to get outside, and once you’re out there you might have trouble distracting yourself from negative thoughts. During the pandemic, we have also been encouraged to stay local, which might mean instead of driving to a rural area, you walk around your city neighbourhood. So what can you do while you’re out there? Play a game! January is a wonderful time of year to set different outdoor challenges. You can try anything from how far can you walk, count how many birds you see, have you found any flowering plants among the wintry twigs, how many dogs did you pet, how many red front doors were there? You can even keep track of your walks and challenges in a little notebook. Any excuse to buy more stationary!
2. Spring clean
Yes, really. We never thought we’d hear ourselves say it, but spring cleaning is possibly more about your mind than your environment. Sure, it’s important to dig behind the sofa for all the odd socks, fluff bunnies and sad doritos, but what matters is HOW GOOD IT FEELS when you know your sofa is crumb free. Especially after working from home for so long it’s easy to become a bit numb to the amount of unopened letters on the kitchen table, or the lifesize hair-yeti crawling out of the bathtub plug. Put aside anything from a ten minute blitz a day to completing one whole room a day until your home is sparkling. A clean, tidy and fresh smelling home does wonders for a healthy mind and helps you feel better.
3. Complete an exercise challenge
Just like the spring cleaning - this isn’t actually about the exercise. Yes, the benefits of exercise are amazing, from the endorphins to the happy heart, but an often overlooked benefit is that you put anything from 10 minutes to an hour aside that’s all for you. If you live alone it can be hard to find the motivation to workout, so looking at it as ‘me time’ can help revolutionise your dedication. If you live with a partner or family it can be hard to get time to yourself, and so by saying ‘I’m working out for half an hour now’ people (usually) understand and give you space. Whether you yoga, star jump, squat or bike, it’s the time to yourself that matters, and there’s a confidence boosting sense of achievement when you realise you’ve kept up a ‘me time’ routine.
4. Explore new recipes
You might have seen that throughout January we are sharing a range of nutritious and delicious recipes that are fad-free, diet-free, and most definitely guilt free. If you’ve got the January blues, take some time to reconnect with food and feel better. Enjoy the process of cooking from scratch, either alone or with those you live with. Try new recipes that take you outside your comfort zone without too much effort. Given that you HAVE to eat, it’s a great opportunity to turn what could be a chore into something fun. We have new recipes launching each week in January across Instagram and our blog that are tantalising and easy to make. Give one a go and let us know how you get on!
5. Host a Zoom cooking party with DCS At Home!
We too danced with the January blues after the new lockdown was announced. As a brand new cookery school in Devon, we went from tier 2 and open, to lockdown and unable to launch our 2021 classes. Boo! However, we’d already been building a plan to launch online cooking classes, so we decided to turn lockdown #3 from bad news into an opportunity. At Devon Cookery School we strip down the barriers between you and pro cooking skills - giving you the confidence to whip up amazing meals without a stainless steel worktop or chef white in sight. It’s all about getting stuck in, having a laugh and learning from the silly things so anyone can become a wizard in the kitchen!
And what better way to do that than to offer cooking classes right in people’s homes? And the amazing thing is… because it’s over Zoom it is 100% covid-safe, and you can book a course at the drop of a hat (depending on availability). Feeling bored on a Wednesday and missing your family or friends? Head over to our DCS at Home page and choose from one of our 10 carefully created online lessons! Alternatively, If you wish to book a completely private class for you and some friends and family then fill out a submission form on the 'Private Online Classes' Page. Choose your menu for the night, we will send you instructions and an ingredients list (you’ll have to pop to the shop!), then hop on a group video call with us on the day, including as many of your friends as you want!
We’d love to hear how you get on with these tips - DM or email us which ones you tried and what you enjoyed most, and let us know what your top tips are for beating the blues and feeling better. Happy January!