We’re glad that Christmas falls in the winter months as it gives us something to look forward to during the darkest and coldest time of the year.
However, when Christmas is over many of us lose that something to look forward to while contending with short, freezing and often miserable days. This is well known as being the January blues.
If you’re currently struggling to feel positive and motivated, you are not alone! Whatever is getting you down this month, our strategies for how to combat the January blues should help.
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1. Get yourself outside
So, you may not feel like going outside when it’s cold and wet, but exposure to daylight is really good for us. We tend to feel more depressed during the winter months because we are not getting enough exposure to the sunlight.
Sunlight helps us to better regulate our sleep cycles and get some much-needed vitamin D. Taking vitamin D supplements during the winter could be a good option if you’re unable to get much sunlight.
When you get a break during the day, get yourself out for a walk and you’ll soon see how it helps you to combat the January blues and boost your motivation.
2. Don’t give yourself unrealistic new year’s resolutions
New year, new me! Many of us see the new year as a good opportunity to make some changes and set new goals. That’s a great thing to do as long as your new year’s resolutions and realistic and achievable.
When we fail, it feels bad and there are plenty of reasons why your new year’s resolutions will fail. Ensure that you’re not setting yourself up for failure with goals that you know you will probably give up on in January. Remember, it can be difficult to keep your motivation high especially during this month, so don’t be too hard on yourself and stick to manageable steps that will help you on your way to achieving your larger goals.
3. Take some time for self-reflection
You don’t need to have a grand plan for the year ahead ready to go on January 1st. January is actually a really good month for evaluating your life. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What issues are you currently facing and how can you overcome them?
- What makes you happy and can you do more to prioritise this?
- What would make you happier?
- How can you better yourself this year (financially, health-wise, in your career, etc.)?
If you think about your life and motivations in more depth, you will be in a better position to set goals that you will stick to.
4. Do more exercise
Joining the gym in January is a big cliché but doing more exercise could be just what you need to combat the January blues. We all know by now that exercising releases feel-good hormones called endorphins and while we may have to force ourselves to get started, you undoubtedly feel good after exercising.
Exercising more also ties in with being healthier which many of us aim for in January after over-indulging during the festive season.
You don’t need to join a gym to boost your exercise regime. There are loads of fitness channels on YouTube, such as The Fitness Marshall if you enjoy a good boogie. You could try running with the help of the Couch to 5K programme, or simply go for some long walks.
5. Try something new
Settling into our comfort zone can cause us to stagnate and stop developing. How are you going to make this year different from the last? Come up with some ideas of what you’d like to try this year. This can be a solo venture or something you do with a friend. Then come up with a plan for how you will make it happen. You might surprise yourself!
6. Read books
Reading is a great way to relax, be entertained and escape all at once. When you’re feeling down, getting into a good story will take your mind off things for a while. It’s enjoyable and offers health benefits so make a reading list and get started!
Here are some that we recommend:
- Troy: Our Greatest Story Retold (Stephen Fry’s Greek Myths)
- A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea
- The Institute
- Tap to Tidy: Organising, Crafting & Creating Happiness in a Messy World
- The Thursday Murder Club: The Record-Breaking Sunday Times Number One Bestseller
7. Eat well
Are you a comfort eater? Many of us can’t help but be drawn to junk food and sugary treats when we’re feeling down. While you don’t need to completely cut chocolate from your life, you will improve your mood if you ensure you have a healthy and varied diet. If you got some time on your hands, why not try some new healthy recipes too?
8. Remember you’re not alone
So many of your friends, family members and colleagues could be feeling the same as you are right now. Whenever you’re feeling low, it’s good to have someone to talk to and share your feelings with. If the first person you confide in doesn’t understand, try reaching out to someone else.
How to combat the January blues: bringing it all together
Spring and longer days will be here in no time so don’t despair. You have the power to create your own happiness so be sure to take care of yourself and let others help along the way.
Do you have any tips on how to combat the January blues? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @TheLifeStuffUK.