Over the Christmas period we ate too much, drank too much, slept too much and lived in denial about the onset of January – a month of dark days, maxed out overdrafts and struggling to pull yourself out of bed as the daily slog of work and Uni returns. The January blues are as certain as death and taxes, and this years rise in all things money related is certain to make January 2011 one of the bluest Januaries since records began.
Surprisingly the return to University is the very thing that gave me inspiration on how to get through this yearly post-Christmas lull. My latest assignment involved relating the work of artist John Newling to the world of science. The piece I chose was an investigation and artistic display of what we all do to make ourselves feel better. I wont bore you with the details of my attempt to argue that this piece was both a work of art and a work of science, but Newling’s final product may just give you the inspiration you need to get out of the January rut. Newling asked 500 people the question: ‘What do you do to make yourselves feel better?’ and took the 50 most common references to actions, places and objects within each response highlighting many of the regular things we do, places we go and objects we use to make ourselves feel better. He then constructed 50 imagined situations which would restore a feeling of well being, where the most common place, action and object were used to make sentence number 1: Have a drink and go shopping for a book, and the 50th most common place, action and object make up the 50th situation: Make a piano in Spain.
The original piece was on display at the Wellcome Collection in 2008 and a book of Newling’s remedies accompanied the exhibition. As most of you lack the ability to travel back in time, and with payday being a distant memory, visiting the exhibition or buying the book is out of the question. So, just for you, here is the list of 50 situations which will hopefully make you feel better. There is something for everyone. If you have already admitted defeat and given up on the inevitable new year health kick maybe try numbers 6, 25 and 34. If your body is still your temple try numbers 4, 7 and 14 or if you just want an excuse to do something bizarre then numbers 22, 29 and 49 may be more to your tastes.
If none of these work I suggest hibernation – February is only 2 short weeks away. Enjoy and good luck beating the blues.
1) Have a drink and go shopping for a book.
2) Walk to a pub whilst listening to a music CD.
3) Go to a park and phone a loved one.
4) On a sunny day, go out to the countryside and play.
5) Eat a meal with a glass of wine in your bedroom.
6) Read a book and smoke a cigarette in a bath.
7) Exercise in a gym and then have a cup of coffee.
8) Go to a garden shop, taking your dog with you.
9) Visit an art gallery and watch.
10) Talk with a person making a DVD at a football ground.
11) Have a cup of tea, phone a friend and go swimming together.
12) After going to the cinema have a bath and eat chocolates.
13) Drink a pint of beer and sleep, dreaming of the sea.
14) Dance with a football, in the kitchen.
15) Cycle to a dance hall and sit.
16) See your house on television.
17) Cook a meal at a live music venue and photograph the event.
18) Drive to a beach and run along it.
19) Smoke a cigarette whilst playing golf.
20) Go out to a forest wearing new clothes.
21) Play a guitar in a restaurant and laugh.
22) Place a gnome with a fishing rod in the garden of a theatre.
23) Go swimming and then have coffee and cake.
24) Spend time at a riding stable that you found using a computer.
25) Drink a bottle of wine in a nightclub and write about it.
26) Have sex in the living room of a boat.
27) Go to the British Library. Think, and take a photograph.
28) Travel to a river and float a lighted candle on it.
29) Make a model of a hill out of your bedclothes.
30) Listen to prayers on an iPod whilst eating cakes in a cake shop.
31) Visit a hairdresser and listen to their radio.
32) Meet a friend in the Lake District and hear bird songs.
33) Feed a cat on Hampstead Heath whilst on holiday.
34) Go for a pleasure boat ride on a lake and drink cans of lager.
35) Smile at a nightclub whilst eating an ice cream.
36) Sing whilst eating a packet of crisps at a tennis court.
37) Draw a church with a mountain behind it.
38) Make a painting of a basketball at a basketball court.
39) Photograph a mountain and take a shower.
40) Ride a horse to a snooker hall and socialize.
41) Look at the flowers at a spa.
42) Drive to the coast and go to a barbeque.
43) Plan a trip to London and smoke a joint.
44) Carry a tennis racket to a hospital and chat with friends.
45) Remember a pool table whilst driving a car.
46) Look after a relative’s pack of cards at a bingo hall.
47) Buy a fountain pen in Milton Keynes and then go fishing.
48) Clean an area of the Southbank and place a pot plant in it.
49) Meditate on a tube of paint in Devon.
50) Make a piano in Spain.