Feel like you need a bit of an emotional-pick-me-up, but can't quite bring yourself to leave the house (hey, it's cold out there) - no fear. Check out these online therapy courses instead.
The idea of talking about your problems isn't a new one. Whether it's paying £65 for an hour of counselling, paying £6.50 for an hour of ranting over wine in the pub, or paying absolutely nothing to moan to yourself in the shower, we're all used to the idea that articulating our issues can be really therapeutic. But what if you don't have £65, don't fancy ranting over wine, or hate the way that water goes in your mouth when you talk in the shower?
Thankfully, the internet is here to help. Online therapy is the new way of solving your problems and working through your troubles - and you don't even have to get out of bed. Let alone wash.
And with that in mind, we've rounded up the best online therapy courses in the world (wide web).
FOR RELATIONSHIPS: ourrelationship.com
As a general rule, we need to change the way we talk about relationships. Because as much as Disney would have us believe that the hard bit is finding somebody to fall in love with, the truth of the matter is, it's much harder staying in love with them five / ten / fifty years down the line. Which is where the guys behind Our Relationship come in. Based in America, don't be put off if you live in the UK - this is couples therapy at its most straightforward, and you don't need to live in the States to benefit from it. Just sign up online and you'll be sent a programme of activities to work through with your partner. It's not quick, but it is easy.
USE IT: If you're aware that your relationship could go off track in the near future.
FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY: learntolive.com
Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you overcome any feelings of social anxiety, Learn To Live (we're going to call them LTL from now on) was founded by two experts in the field who wanted to use their specialised training to help as many people as possible. After realising that many people with social anxiety struggle to arrange face-to-face counselling sessions, Dr Russell Morfitt and Dale Cook created LTL - not just providing a step-by-step CBT course, but establishing an active online community to encourage sufferers to share stories and tips.
USE IT: If the holiday season makes you want to break out in a nervous sweat and hide under your duvet 'til Feb.
FOR WHEN YOU'RE HAVING A BAD DAY:blahtherapy.com
Pay-as-you-go phones may be becoming a thing of the past, but pay-as-you-go therapy is just beginning. BlahTherapy offers a miscellany of trained professionals - all available to talk to you in real time over the web - while keeping your identity completely concealed at the same time. But if you'd prefer something even more casual than that, they've also rounded up a few thousand anonymous individuals who are on hand for ranting and venting at. Sure, they're not trained counsellors, but if you just need a bit of a whinge, they're probably exactly what you need.
USE IT: When your best mate has pissed you off.
FOR SEX: vmtherapy.com
Considering how much time we spend thinking about sex, talking about it should definitely be easier. But for some reason, it's still a subject that has the power to turn make any subject feel overbearingly awkward. Which is why Vanessa Marin's online sex therapy business prioritises your individual needs. If you're comfortable doing face-to-face video chats, then face-to-face video chats are fine with her. If you'd rather send over some questions over email, then that works too. She's even developed a series of programmes that you can work through independently, without any communication whatsoever.
USE IT: If you'd like to improve your love life - but don't quite know what the problem is.
FOR INSOMNIA: sleepstation.org.uk
As a heads up, and before we go any further, this course takes seven weeks. But hey - what's seven weeks when it could solve all of your sleeping problems for seven months / years / decades afterwards? Approved by the NHS, and clinically proven to work, this course focuses on finding out exactly what is behind your problematic sleep patterns, before providing you with a series of practical exercises to resolve the issues - promising to help you fall asleep quicker, and wake up feeling refreshed. Also the website is really user-friendly. Which is a plus.
USE IT: If you've long stopped counting sheep, and started killing them off instead.
FOR MINDFULNESS: bemindfulonline.com
Yeah, yeah. We know it's a buzzword, but mindfulness really does make a difference. If you're feeling generally stressed out and strung up, this online course is the perfect introduction to slowing down your thoughts and getting some perspective. There's no time frame - you're encouraged to take things one step at a time - and each part of the 10 step course only takes 30 minutes. That's less time than it takes to boil the kettle, make a cup of tea, drink it, and wash the cup up again. Just saying.
USE IT: If you're a bit overwhelmed.