How to Tackle January Blues
Before we know it, the festive period ends and we’re brought crashing down to earth. No more nights in front of the telly, no more board games with the family, no more stuffing your grid.
There’s a reason why people can’t wait to see the back of January: it’s cold, it’s dark, and features “the most depressing day of the year” (that’s the third Monday of the month if you were wondering). However, what if instead of accepting a month of winter blues, we took back control and made it a happy month? Here are some of the ways that I’m going to tackle the January Blues, I hope they work for you too!
WAVE GOODBYE TO CHRISTMAS
The heights of Christmas are pretty high, but it’s such a memorable time of year because it’s so short! If it really were Christmas every day, then we’d all get sick of it pretty quickly. As such, it’s important that you recognise that the festive period – the one that runs through from Christmas until early in January – is over. If we’re generous, we can let you have until January 3rd. After that, it’s time to embrace the ordinary. It’s important to put the festive period behind you, as this will bring you back to normalcy and get you back on track.
RAISE YOUR STANDARDS
It’s easy to get into a negative mindset when it comes to January. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you’re expecting to hate the month, then guess what? You’re probably going to hate the month! You’ll come to believe anything if you repeat it to yourself enough times. Instead of just planning to endure the season, make a vow to enjoy the season. You have more scope than you realise to make it a month to remember, but that’ll only happen if adopt an attitude that allows you to enjoy it. In essence, it’s about raising your standard for the month. Just because everyone else might be doom and gloom about the first month of the year, that doesn’t mean you have to be. I’ve decided to make January the month I launch myself back into Slimming World and my training. Why not, eh?
When the weather outside is cold, you want nothing more than to spend long days curled up inside, ideally with a bunch of snacks and copious amounts of hot chocolate, with a new Netflix show all ready to watch. While you might think that this is what you want, in reality, you’ll be making the month less enjoyable for yourself. Humans need to spend time in the outdoors to be happy and content, and this need doesn’t dissipate just because it’s January. Make sure you’re getting outdoors as often as possible, even if it’s just on your lunch break during the week. At the weekend, take your dog for a walk, or take some time out of your day to take a stroll.
OWN YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
One of the reasons January is considered “depressing” is because, due to the Christmas period, people rarely have any money to do the things that they find enjoyable. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. For starters, January is a good month to review your finances and come up with a solid plan for the forthcoming year. Second, you can get a payday loan to see you through until the end of the month. If you’re concerned about getting such a loan, don’t be; one of the effects of regulation was a price cap on the interest lenders can charge, making it more affordable for everyday people. Be careful though! Always make sure you compare the market, and that you can repay the loan in due time.
It’s dark and cold outside, so what are you going to do – sit in and watch Friends on Netflix? No! This is an opportunity to sit in and use your time constructively. Pick up a new indoor hobby, and you won’t be spending your evenings wishing for February and then Spring to arrive: you’ll be knee deep in a new passion that may become a valuable part of your life. For me, this is gaming! I love gaming and it actually takes my mind away from the stresses of life for a little while. Right now I’m back on the Sims 4 hype…
For many people, Christmas begins towards the end of November. From then onwards, it’s a series of after-work drinks, Christmas parties, and then of course New Years and all the rest. As such, we can often find that we’ve spent a large chunk of time eating and drinking, and not that much time in the gym! If you’re watching the pennies in January, why not use it as an opportunity to go through a detox period? You’ll be amazed at just how much of a difference a month without drinking alcohol can make. While you’re spending your evenings indoors, it’s also a good opportunity to learn some healthy meals. Also, have you heard of veganuary? It’s a month of an only eating vegan food. Give it a try!
EMBRACE THE DARK
Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? It’s basically the idea of embracing winter. If you try to fight the cold and dark weather, well, you won’t win! And as they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. Use January as a time to restore your energy by sinking into all the homey comforts of the winter season. Load up on candles, throw a few more blankets into your living room, and stack the shelves with a few good books. You might just find that you’re a bigger fan of the winter season than you thought you were.
Yes, people might be more inclined to stay indoors during January, but given the opportunity, you’ll find that they’re more willing to get up and out of the house than you realise – so long as they’re not the ones doing the organising. Think of a few get-together ideas, and invite all your friends. When it comes to beating the January blues, there is power in numbers!
If you live in the city, then fair enough, things can look a little bit damp and grey during January, especially after the Christmas lights have been taken down. But there is still a beautiful side of the world out there; it just exists in nature! On a weekend in January, plan to take a trip into the countryside. There’s nothing better than exploring the natural beauty of the Lake District on a chilly but sunny January day, for instance. I’ve just planned my first trip of the year (Krakow!) and I’m more than excited to jet off. It gives you a focus and an aim to look forward to.
WRITE DOWN A REVIEW OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day to day life, and before we know it, a whole year has passed! In the early days of a new year, make a plan to write a review of the previous year. It doesn’t have to be anything overly sentimental; just a list of things you’ve done, friends you made, places you visited, and so on. You’ll see that last January wasn’t so bad overall, so this one isn’t much to fear after all! It’s a nice way to begin the year, and in fifty years, you’ll have your life story written down.
Just like it’s easy to get wrapped up in day to day life, it’s also easy to get wrapped up in our lives and concerns. We can forget that there are people out there who need help more than we do. Why not use the beginning of the year to give back to others? It’ll give the month a sense of direction, and you’ll be helping others as well as yourself.
SUMMER STATE OF MIND
We never think of dates and times as manmade constructs, but that’s just what they are. As such, with a bit of thinking, you can overcome the idea of “January”. Instead, see it as the height of a beautiful season. Take notice of the birds, the trees, and chill in the air; the world will seem a more beautiful place. There’s beauty everywhere if you look hard enough!
PUT DOWN THE TECH
Technology has done a lot of good things, but there is such a thing as too much technology. This January, don’t replace your boredom with more screen time; it’ll only make your unhappiness more unbearable. Pick up a book, or call or friend, or meditate; you’ll feel much better for it.
RECOGNISE THAT IT WILL PASS
In January; we get sad, and can’t see a way out. But here’s the thing: it’s going to be pass, sooner than you realise! Before you know it, spring will be here, and we’ll be basking in the warm weather again.