A freelance writer who can't resist good food and exploring new places. Visit my blog at www.travelchook.com
Published January 19th 2014
No Holidays, No Money, No Worries
The holidays are over and it's time to get out of your post holiday slump. Put your emptied bank accounts and low annual leave balances behind you because it's time to look to a brighter tomorrow. The post holiday period can be just as fulfilling, socially eventful and truckloads of fun, if you just take a few minutes to read this article.
Firstly, wonderful things don't usually fall effortlessly into your lap by chance, so a little creativity and planning are required to ensure your year is laden with goodies and great times. It is time to get out your pen and calendar and start scheduling a fabulous year for yourself and those closest to you. Don't worry about money, because you won't be spending much at all if you don't want too.
Choose items from the list below and start planning them now. Not only will it give you a boost and lots of enjoyable things to look forward to, but your family and friends will be eternally grateful you bounced them out of the post holiday season slump too.
Best Pick Me Ups to Get Out of a Post Holiday Slump
1. Plan to get wet with your nearest and dearest. Water is therapeutic and spending time outside in any kind of water is going to give you some vitamin D, put a smile on your face and invigorate the body. Choose a beach, water hole, creek, river, or even a pool, and plan a day out in the water. Girls, if the body is feeling a little bloated after the holiday indulgences, ditch the bikini and deck yourself out in comfortable board shorts and a tankini or rash top. Life is so much happier when you don't worry about love handles.
Just in case you'd like to take a dip, the photo above is of the Ian Dipple Lagoon - free for all.
2. Recipe Testing and Eating Day. You are going to invite lots of family and friends over for a sumptuous buffet. No money? No worries. You will not be footing the bill. Each adult is to choose a new recipe they love the look of, make it, and bring it over to your place along with multiple printed copies of the recipes.
This is a recipe taste testing extravaganza where everyone gets to try a bit of everything and takes home copies of the recipes they love. The only rule being that everyone must cook something brand new they have never done before, so failures are completely acceptable and will provide the entertainment while successes will feed the masses. Rating dishes is optional.
3. Family Movie Night on the Cheap. There is just no excuse for not having a movie night. Seriously, just pick up some ice cream cones, ice-cream, ice magic, and popping corn from the supermarket. Drop into the video store on the way home and pick up a movie. Set up the lounge room with lots of cushions and make it extra comfortable with places to put drinks and popcorn. Basically, turn your lounge into a movie theatre and serve chop tops and popcorn. To make it extra special, make it clear to those attending that it is a Movie Night and you are recreating the cinema experience at home. Build the anticipation. I did this recently for the first time and it was a great night.
4. Go op shopping with a friend to get your fix. Instead of a $500 day at the major stores, have a $25 dollar day at the op shops. I can say from experience that some of the clothes you find at the op shops are most unexpected. Designer labels for $5, vintage clothes for next to nothing, well known standard store brands that look as though they have never been worn for $3 and leather shoes for the price of plastic. Some places let you fill a large bag with clothes for $5. Finishing the day with a car boot full of clothes, shoes and handbags for next to nothing will have anyone feeling rather smug and excited.
5. A romantic picnic in the park. Get out the picnic basket, rug, games, wine glasses, and make or purchase some gourmet foods. Select a beautiful park with huge shady trees and a lovely outlook and make it special.
6. Start planning your next holiday. Just because you don't have the time or money to go now, doesn't mean you can't start planning the next trip. Yes, I understand it may not be for quite a while, but you are not handing over any money at present, so stop worrying and pick a place - anywhere The planning makes it seem closer and more real. Start researching options on the internet, picking up brochures from the travel agent. Once you narrow down the area you want to go to, plan the precise places you will visit and start to dream. Not only will this motivate you to start budgeting, but it will also get you looking forward to the future, even if it is another year or three years away.
7. Go to the internet and look up Weekend Notes. You may be here right now, but are you just aimlessly wandering or are you seriously looking to fill your weekend with fun things? Choose your city and look up all the great things you can do in your area on the weekend. It is time to stop saying 'I must do that one day' and time to actually set a date , write it on the calendar and do it. There may be festivals, places you never knew existed, places you have forgotten about, and new ideas for having a good time.
8. Mountain Walk and Country Markets. Getting away up in the mountains for a day of walking and sightseeing provides a good dose of invigorating fresh air, exercise, and reconnects one with nature, which can be very uplifting. Check out The Green Mountains, Springbrook, or Binna Burra. For those who don't like day hikes, simply combine a short leisurely walk with a visit to a country market where you can have lunch and browse.
9. Goal Setting. Write a list of where you'd like to be in a year's time with regard to finances, your body/health, career, relationships and hobbies. It is important to write it down rather than fantasise. Then make a list of steps you will have to take to attain those goals. Do one thing every day to get closer to your goals. It's amazing how quickly time goes by. Have you ever thought it is too late to start something, or it will take too long, then five years later you look back and realise how quick that time went and had you started that 'thing' five years ago, you would be sitting pretty today? Well, where do you want to be five years from now? Make plans today, start taking regular action and this time make it happen.
10. Do things at home and in your region that tourists might do but that you don't normally do. Think about what you'd like to do when away on holidays - is it lying out in the sun with a cocktail, and a good book? If so, get the cocktail ingredients, set up a sun bed in the backyard, imagine you have all the time in the world, get rid of the rest of the family for the day, and just do it. Make a babysitting deal with another parent if necessary -whatever it takes.
Note: Did I say this was a Top Ten List? It is, but you deserve additional extras.
11. Wine tasting. Gather some friends and go to your nearest wineries to do some serious tasting, get giggly and be in the moment - nothing else exists today. It is time to release. Make sure you invite one person who won't drink to be the designated driver. If that is not possible or if all your friends are miserable sods and won't go, then join a winery day tour. If you live in Adelaide, check out Hugh Hamilton Winery.
Image by Jamesonf. License CC-BY 2.0
12. Day Trips. Do a stack of them. If you live in Victoria or NSW, check out my Top Ten Best Day Trips article and find your bliss.
If after reading all this you are still yearning for a big expensive holiday in Europe, Asia, Africa or the USA but moping around like a wet cat because it would take you five years to save for it, then perk up right now because there is a way.
Let me pull you out of your slump and invite you to try the latest craze - overseas house swaps. Yes, luckily for you, there are thousands of people living in your dream locations right around the world chomping at the bit to get to the location you already live in.
So for goodness sake, put yourself out of your misery, go online, drool over stunning overseas homes and arrange a house swap . No money, no worries - house swapping allows regular exotic holidays to destinations that would have otherwise been unaffordable.
You can quit your job now and go (not recommended) or you can spend hours sifting through the dreamy options online in the realisation that this is actually possible, which will revitalise you in itself. It is then just a question of accumulating the annual leave. For those that don't own their own house or unit, team up with a friend who does, convince them to do it, then go along for the journey.
It is time for you to take the reins, make plans and take action that will have you high on life again.