Hello one and all, it’s time for the third week of #ProjectHappyJanuary! This is our series of blogs where we give you some daily, cost-free fun activities and ideas of things to do to make the start of your new year a little lighter and brighter.
So let’s not waste any more time – here comes your next seven days of fun things to do. Don’t forget to leave a comment below if you do any of the things we’ve suggested or Tweet us with the hashtag #ProjectHappyJanuary. Enjoy!
DAY 15 – compliment someone today
I speak as someone that used to find accepting compliments – particularly from strangers – difficult. I still do a little bit. But it’s about learning that when someone compliments you, they’re doing it with genuine appreciation and/or love.
So whether your colleague at work has performed well with a certain project, or someone you get talking to in a coffee shop today is wearing a nice outfit, compliment them. It may just make all the difference to their day. And if someone compliments you today – accept it and feel good about it!
DAY 16 – volunteer
This is more of something you can do even after January has gone. But it also ties into what we were focussing on yesterday – the idea of doing something nice to make others feel good and to help others. And the best way of doing this? Volunteering.
If there’s an organisation or charity that’s close to your heart – that’s even better. Have a look at what fundraising events are coming up for your chosen charity or organisation on their website and see if you can give a couple of hours of your time to support them.
Alternatively, websites like Do-It are a great place to start your search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Whether it’s helping out at a local soup kitchen or food bank, or giving your time to a local community group, there’s an opportunity for you there to give something back.
DAY 17 – watch a funny video (or several)
With YouTube accessible just from a few taps these days, it’s not only an excellent procrastination tool (who said that? – Productivity Ed) but also a great tool to lift your mood and make you laugh instantly.
We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve done a search for ‘dog funny’ or ‘cat funny’ on YouTube and fallen down a black hole of hilarity. But don’t just take our word for it – sit down with a cuppa for 10 minutes and enjoy our specially curated playlist of YouTube’s instant canine and feline LOL generators!
DAY 18 – do a crossword
Now to those who I can hear saying ‘Are you 82, Alex?’ – firstly, rude. And secondly, trust me on this – crosswords are great fun. And these days you don’t even have to buy a paper to enjoy them.
There’s nothing more satisfying then setting yourself the small challenge of completing one. The Guardian website has an excellent range of crosswords (and the answers if you get really stuck) of all levels of ease/difficulty – print a couple off and see how you get on.
DAY 19 – practicing gratitude
One of the things I have started nurturing the art of daily in my life in the last few years is that of gratitude. We can get so swept up with thinking our lives aren’t great, and that our problems are greater than everyone else’s.
I keep a gratitude journal – a very small notebook – beside my bed – and try to aim to write down three things I am grateful for on that day, however big or small they may be, whether that’s the roof over my head, or catching an early bus. It’s there as a reminder that just by virtue of even small things, there is always something to be grateful and appreciative for.
DAY 20 – have a phone free day
We’ll come on to this more with some of next week’s activities, but I’ll bring it up for today’s one as well. Social media is such a great tool when used positively – to engage, connect with others, make people smile.
But it’s also a tool for, well, some utter tools, whether that’s trolls behind a keyboard posting negative crap, or people posting endless selfies from their seemingly perfect life. It’s not healthy to get caught up in that on a frequent basis.
Which is why, today, I am suggesting a phone free day. Just switch your phone off for the day, take yourself away from any electronic devices with an internet connection, and go do some amazing things. Make it a weekly thing if needs be.
In a time when we’re always accessible, make yourself unavailable (digitally, that is) for the day, get out into the world and enjoy yourself, and live in the moment rather than through a screen, just for one day.
DAY 21 – make a nice meal or drink
Hope you enjoyed your phone free day yesterday! Today, as it’s Sunday – take the time today to unwind and make yourself a nice meal or drink.
Whether that’s a full English breakfast, a roast dinner, a slow cooked stew – or even just a hot chocolate whilst curled up on the sofa watching a film – cooking really is one of the most therapeutic things to do on a lazy Sunday. Not to mention the satisfaction of enjoying something you’ve made yourself. Bon appetit!