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Updated: Mar 24, 2023

In a post-Brexit-and-pandemic world we were all yearning for 2022 to revert back to type. We’d spent four years with Brexit dividing the country, leaving a trail of genuine disdain for each other in its wake. Then came COVID, locking us up, then letting us out, then locking us up again, and not even a half-price Nando’s hand-served by Rishi Sunak himself could cheer us up. I think it’s fair to say that after the second mess of a Christmas in a row we all wanted 2022 to be a fresh start, a relaxing and boring year with no controversies. We wanted the ‘new normal’.

Instead, what 2022 gave us was three Prime Minister’s (one lasting a measly 44 days in office), the hottest day ever recorded in the UK (with 41 houses in London catching fire), Storm Eunice’s winds reached 130mph (and took the roof off my Dad’s barn), The Queen died (no comment), Amber Heard's dog got stung by a bee and Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

Our ‘new normal’ is actually fucking mental. So here we are facing a fresh start, 52-or-so weeks hurtling along at us head on. 52 weeks to make 2023 as boring as possible. It's our responsibility. So let me present to you my step-by-step guide: the Do’s and Don’ts of 2023.


If there’s anything to be learnt from the last few years is that it wasn't curiosity that killed the cat, it was tribalism. We don’t need any more division. Stay off TikTok, stay off Instagram and stay off Twitter. Social media has been an echo chamber for a while now, a breeding ground for incels and a platform for some bald-headed twonk (whose name I won’t even mention) telling children to do push ups and punch their mums. Stay off the gram kids, The Matrix is just a film.


If the choice of how to spend your Friday night is an evening in Clapham’s Infernos with Hattie, Hugo, Millie, Tillie, Lily and the rest of the gang: don’t do it. Instead, run a bath, listen to Radio 4 and read an improving book. If you want to do a bump of miscellaneous substances in a bathroom, why not do it in your own? After years of chaos, why add to it by falling asleep on the number 50 bus and waking up in Croydon? Take it from me folks, it isn’t going to help.


Gyms across the country will be rammed in January and the smell of sweat and false promises will linger in the air of all of them. Long gone are the first lockdown days of Joe Wicks shouting at us in our living rooms. Being active isn't about getting shredded or losing two stone. Set manageable goals. Go for a walk if you can’t jog, take the bike to work instead of the car, go swimming if you want. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps or Dame Kelly Holmes, but we all need to be active to maintain our contentment in our soon-to-be-mundane year.


While the gyms are rammed, the pubs are empty. All the part timer’s are inside drinking Becks Blue and eating quinoa, leaving only the bar flies and thirsty students inside our Great British establishments. So if you feel like imbibing, pop down to your local pub. Last year, 32 boozers shut down every month. Sack off the gastropubs; Satay Chicken Wings and Passionfruit IPA’s are far too exciting for 2023. It’s lager and crisps or nothing. You have been warned.


The NHS is on its arse. Waiting lists for operations and consultations are staggering, with 2.8 million people waiting over 18 weeks for treatment, the highest number ever recorded. The Tories have not helped - so it’s up to us. Unless your leg is hanging on by a fraction of skin or you’re going into cardiac arrest - for goodness sake - don’t call an ambulance and don’t go to A&E. If it means going to Londis wrapped in bubble wrap or wearing a helmet on the tube, do it. My poor old granny took a fall last week and spent 17 hours in A&E with a broken eye socket behind someone with a sprained ankle. And while I am in no way shape or form condoning the use of opioids, co-codamol is sold over the counter. And so are plasters. We’ll be fine, guys.


My final message is: if we really want to get through this year we’re going to need a bit of help. Our mental health hasn't been in the best of places over the last few years. We’ve all been struggling, some more than others. But don't struggle alone, surround yourselves with the people who love you. We all need someone to pick us up and when needed put us down. Find yourself someone who can be a shoulder to cry on and would also tell us why our brand new plan to quit our jobs and move to a monastery in Tibet might not be the best idea. The only way we can put the chaos aside is if we move forward together.

Will Cotton is a featured writer for Left Brain Media. You can find his posts here.

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