Have the grey, winter mornings got you down? Do you struggle to find anything to smile about? Are you suffering from a serious case of the January blues? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
Why is it that the first month of the new year always brings with it such doom and gloom? What should be a fresh, positive, bright beginning often feels like a terrible slog through the month to February. We spend the first week of January in a harsh, post Christmas, back to reality haze before begrudgingly accepting that it’s time to put away the Christmas treats and crack on with trying to make our pay packets last until the end of the month.
January can be stressful. You’re faced with often horrible weather, dark mornings and evenings and new challenges and objectives thrown at you by work. It’s enough to send you potty or reaching for the gin bottle. With the added blow of a new national lockdown here in the UK, January 2021 is feeling particularly dismal.
But fear not, we are here to provided you with our top ten tips to combat the January blues (and a winter lockdown). We hope you can find something in this list that will help you to focus on the positive and turn your frown upside down:-
Exercise is a lot like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. I can’t say that we’re big fans but getting up and moving around is scientifically proven to boost your mood. The right amount of exercise can boost your endorphin levels, making you feel happier and less stressed. It also has the added benefit of helping you keep fit and assisting with getting rid of your double chins (after the last 9 months, I’m currently sporting 3 chins myself).
The key to successfully exercising is finding something that you enjoy doing. Rather than going all out and immediately taking up jogging, why not just start going for walks? Getting outside in nature and getting some fresh air will do you the world of good. If it’s just too cold for you and you don’t want to risk going outside with COVID-19 on the rise, why not have a look at online yoga or pilates classes? There’s plenty to choose from on the internet from beginners to advanced. Just getting up and doing something with your body will help you to feel better inside and out. For those of you who want a bit more of a challenge, I hear that Joe Wicks will be back doing his daily, morning online workouts from next week.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is a priority for living a healthy, happy life. It’s important for your metabolism and is very beneficial in helping us get through the January blues. Try to establish a regular bedtime routine to help you drift off and rest. Put the phones and screens away at least an hour before bedtime to help you unwind and switch off the day.
Make sure that your bedroom is an oasis of calm – bed made, neat and tidy, not too hot or cold and gentle lighting. Having a warm, relaxing area to drift off in will help you to get a good night’s sleep and leave you fresh and reenergised for the following day.
Give yourself a health boost
Ditch the Christmas diet and get rid of that bloated, tired, boozy feeling. It’s time to give your body a rest and reset. I’m not saying go mad and do a juice cleanse but do start keeping track of what fuel you’re feeding your body. If you see more chocolate, crisps, cheese and processed food on your list than greens, it could be time to start adding a bit more fruit and veg to your diet. Eating well helps us to feel better and most of the mood-improving foods out there are generally either vegetables or fruits.
Try cutting down on meat a bit too and adding some colour to your dinner plates. It’s important to keep ourselves healthy and adding some more nutrients to your meal is never a bad thing. It’s also time to lay off the booze a bit and give your liver a break. Christmas has left it battered and bruised (well, mine is anyway) so why not treat it to a few days a week where the wine bottle stays out of sight and the gin stays in the cupboard? Alcohol is also a known depressant so if you’re already feeling a bit blue, a couple of regular nights off can only help to improve your mood.
These days we spend more time than ever before looking at screens – phones, laptops, TV, Zoom meetings, Facetime, Whatsapp video – our lives seem to be ruled by them 24/7. Why not give yourself a weekend digital detox and just switch it all off and have some peace and quiet? Stay off social media and if your friends want to chat just have a phonecall for a change. Give your eyes and your mind a rest and have a chance to catch up with yourself. It’s amazing how calm and relaxed you will feel afterwards.
Curl up with a Good Book
If like us, you’ve finished Netflix and you’re also keen for a digital detox, why not curl up with a good book? It will take your mind off the world and give your brain space to escape. There are so many good reads out there at the moment. We last recommended some of our favourites in our September blog, Book the Day Off and will be recommending some more later this month.
New Year Playlist
Love music? Why not make yourself a happy playlist for January? Put your favourite feel good tunes on there and all the songs that make you smile. Start every day off with a song that makes you happy and gets you in a positive mental zone. It could even be the soundtrack to your daily walk or the music you look forward to playing in the evening. Whatever works for you but get that groove on, girl!
Are you the creative type? Have you ever tried it? Having a hobby to indulge in when we’re feeling bored or down can be a real mood booster and gives us something to look forward to. There are lots of people who’ve discovered new hobbies and passions over the last year so if you’ve been thinking about trying something new then why not strike whilst the iron is hot? There are so many things that you can investigate that you may be good at or just end up enjoying doing.
During the last lockdown, my mum took up knitting and is now on her third scarf. We’ve got friends who have invested in jigsaw puzzles, taken up sewing, needlepoint, drawing, calligraphy, painting, sketching and even carpentry. There’s something out there for everyone. My current passion is 5D diamond painting (if you’re curious, go look them up on Amazon). I have no idea what I’m going to do with them all when they are done but it’s very relaxing and makes me smile and that’s all that’s important.
It’s amazing how often we neglect taking care of ourselves and prioritising everyone and everything ahead us. If you’re feeling down, take some time out to just have a bit of a pamper. Spend an hour doing your nails or your toenails. Take time out to give your hair a deep condition. Indulge in the ultimate bubble bath with wine and candles and everything.
Treat yourself to a home spa day. You’re special and you deserve it. If you’re feeling the January penny pinch, take a look at our blog ‘A Relaxing Soak – On a Budget‘ for some inexpensive treatment recommendations. Recharging your batteries, relaxing and looking after yourself are all key components in helping you to feel good.
Sometimes it can really help to write down the things you are feeling. It’s like a release that allows you to get everything out of your head and down on paper. If you find it hard to talk about how you’re feeling then writing may be the solution for you. Just emptying your head of all your negative thoughts will help to create space for more positive ones.
Try taking 5 minutes each day to just write. Don’t even think about what you’re writing, just go with the flow. You don’t have to keep what you’ve written, you can delete it or rip up the page. It’s an interesting exercise that really helps to clear space in your brain and get your thoughts flowing freely. It will help you to mentally unblock and start thinking about planning for the year ahead rather than the January blues.
Now, we’re not ones for cleaning but a tidy space really does do wonders for your mind. Cleaning and organising the rooms that you use the most will help you to feel mentally uncluttered and keep you calm rather than feeling stressed. We have a friend who started January with a really cluttered home office. She couldn’t focus on anything or even start feeling positive about the year ahead until she’d spent the afternoon having a good clear out, put all the christmas decs away and organised her desk. The next day, she was raring to go!
Getting your house organised is very similar to giving yourself a pampering. Your mind and your body need a space to feel relaxed and calm in which does unfortunately mean doing a bit of cleaning! It’s good for you though and it will help your feel as though you have accomplished the first task of the year. You’re not just spring cleaning your house, you’re spring cleaning your mind as well.
We hope these ideas on tackling the January blues have given you some food for thought. January can be a miserable month but it doesn’t have to be if you take control of your time and your body and keep thinking positively. We’ll get through it faster than you think.