So how are we all doing? Back to work? Back on the school run? Anyone experiencing the post-Christmas crash? Midwinter blues? Feeling generally a bit blurgh? What can we do to lift our spirits when we’re skint and the whole country is battered by storms and half under water?
Bit obvious but top of my list is eating well. Lots of nutrient-rich, comforting home-cooked meals. January is not the time for flavourless, soulless, diet food. You’ll just feel hungry, bored and knackered. You need tasty, nourishing meals to warm you up and pack your body full of vitamins and energy. Plus, that little bit of kitchen time is yours alone. Enjoy it! Here’s my meal plan for this week:
THURSDAY: lentil and baked bean hotpot with green veg (use my veggie cottage pie recipe as a base but top with thinly sliced potatoes instead)
FRIDAY: chipolatas, jackets, runner beans, fried onions and gravy
SATURDAY: spicy butternut squash soup and crusty rolls
SUNDAY: curried slow roast lamb (from my new Hairy Bikers book!), roasted bombay potatoes, honeyed cumin carrots, cauliflower and minted peas
MONDAY: sweet chilli, ginger and soy salmon fillets, stir fry veg and brown rice
TUESDAY: dirty all-day breakfast – bacon, eggs, fried bread and baked beans
WEDNESDAY: swedey-topped cottage pie and green beans.
What else can we do to boost our moods while we’re waiting for the hosepipe ban?
Try to get some daylight and fresh air, even just for ten minutes every day. I used to commute to London for work so it was easier said than done. I left the house in darkness, sat at my desk under flourescent lights and air conditioning all day, then travelled home in darkness. I used to do a ten-minute march around the shops in my lunch break. Just to stretch my legs and breathe a bit.
Look after yourself! We’re often so busy looking after everyone else – the kids, the partner, friends going through tough times, other people’s dramas on social media – we forget about ourselves! Give yourself a mani/pedicure; have a bubble bath; buy yourself a trashy magazine and a hot chocolate and relax for half an hour; buy one of those little face mask sachets for under a quid and pamper yourself. Do something nice for yourself!
If you’re stuck in the rut of vegging out in front of the TV every evening, turn it off! Most of us have a recorder box or access to online catch-up these days so you really aren’t going to miss anything. Light a candle, stick some music on, read a book, drag out the Scrabble set, or just sit and chat with your other half/best mate/mum.
Do something different. Because, in the wise words of Cheryl Cole, you’re worth it!