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How to cheer yourself up this month

Jemima BoostComment

Today is officially the most depressing day of the year and the weather in London is certainly living up to that label by giving us grey skies and pouring rain. Oh joy. But rather than sit at your desk/home/car and cry about it, stay positive and follow our top tips for having a happy January. 

1. Trapeze School

Go on, be that daring young man on the flying trapeze who glides through the air with the greatest of ease. Or, like us, stand at the top of the platform for 10 minutes summoning up the courage to throw yourself off the edge of a tiny platform 40ft from the ground. Either way, the thrill you get when you let go is unbeatable - unless you're a regular stunt man or have jumped out of planes, done bungie jumps etc, then it will seem like walk in the park. Gorilla Circus offers trapeze sessions at its headquarters in Woolwich from £26. 

2. An English Man, An American...

It may sound obvious but then sometimes things can be staring you in the face before you realise it, so we're going to say it anyway... Brighten up the most depressing months with some comedy. A good old-fashioned laugh. There are oodles of comedy nights around London in small venues, or watch the likes of Jack Whitehall and Micky Flanagan take on whole theatres. Plus, our pick of the comedies, would be a night at Camden's The Roundhouse to watch Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin come together, for one night only to talk about their life and work in a one-off fundraising event for the Roundhouse hosted by Sanjeev Bhaskar. roundhouse.org.uk

3.  Go to la la land

Dry January is such a drag, if you're bothering (which we're not FYI) the idea of a long, sober evening in front of Netflix/Amazon Prime/Apple TV can be a dreary one. One sure-fire way to brighten up your January is by paying a visit to La La Land ... A film hasn't made such a splash in a long time, with not a bad word written about the new movie starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Described as dazzling, delectable and daring by the critics, the romantic-comedy-drama-musical follows  Seb, a jazz pianist, and Mia, an aspiring actor, who meet, fall in love, sing and dance like it’s 1929. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face. 

4. SAY BALLS TO IT ALL

Whatever has popped into your head just wipe it straight out again, for you can't possibly imagine what we're about to say. Thought ball pits were just for toddlers? Think again.  As part of the Winter Happiness Festival a giant adult ball pit is opening up in Canvas Cafe on Hanbury Street, Shoreditch. From 21 January the people behind the festival are inviting Londoners to jump right in with a child-like abandon and forget those solemn thoughts. It's just one of a whole series of events aiming to be an antidote to what is officially the most depressing month of the year, including yoga, free talks, mindfulness, colouring-in and a 'Let It Go' bin to get rid of unhelpful thoughts... Hmmm. The ball pit costs £5 for 15 minutes. Book here

5. LOOK INTO THE LIGHT

The reduction of sunlight in winter can lead to a drop in your serotonin levels, which is what causes your moods to drop in the cooler months and S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder). Now we're not saying that these lights are going to increase your serotonin but they might put a smile on your face. First up, there's the Winter Lights at Canary Wharf, a series of light installations and interactive art displays on until 27th January. Then later on, opening at the beginning of February, is Chiswick House's Magic Lantern Festival - more of a family affair - to celebrate Chinese New Year. More than 50 giant, hand-sculpted lanterns will be dotted around illuminated corridors on a garden trail.