10 Tips for Beating the January Blues
So, Christmas is over. The long languorous week between Christmas and New Year passed by in a stupor of lethargy, chocolate and too much TV. Now is the time to get back to work and normality. But, it’s hard. January is one of the toughest months of the year to get motivated. The weather is wet and gloomy, spring is too far away, and there isn’t much left to look forward to. Plus, you’ve already broken two out of three resolutions. Sound familiar?
So, here’s my 10 tips for beating the January blues.
1.Don’t be so hard on yourself.
The trouble with new year resolutions is they are never realistic so we are setting ourselves up for failure straight away. The thought of losing three stone, going to the gym three times a week and never drinking alcohol again is enough to depress anyone into regression. It’s much better to set smaller goals and that way you might succeed. And so what if you miss a gym session three times in a row, have a glass of wine and eat some chocolate? You can always make up for it next week. Just don’t give up entirely because of one set-back. Draw a line under it and start again.
2.Tidy your desk.
It always works for me. I can’t work when I’m surrounded by mess, so a quick tidy up once a day is usually enough to set me straight. But Christmas has a way of allowing us to let things slide and before you know it you are drowning in a quagmire of unpaid bills, cards you mean’t to send and last minute tasks that didn’t get done. So, spend an hour paying those bills, making lists to prioritise jobs and filing. And while you’re at it, fill in the blank pages in the new diary, not just with work appointments but with play dates too. You’ll feel better, I promise.
3.Start a new hobby.
It’s no coincidence that TV commercials in January try to tempt you in to buying ‘how to’ magazines with the first issue at a special knock down price. January is the month when we all think a new hobby is the answer. But before you rush out and buy the latest patchwork quilt kit, think about what you would really like to do. Maybe now is the time to start that salsa group or aromatherapy class. Me? I’m going to learn to use my new camera and I’m starting by pledging to take at least one photograph a day. I have a way to go.
4.Get out more.
Just do it. One of the best things I ever did was get a dog. I have no excuse for lounging in my pj’s until lunchtime when I have to take him for a walk. And I always feel better for doing it. Fresh air and nature has a way of putting things into perspective and it’s good exercise too. I’m not suggesting that everyone rushes out and buys a pet, but a walk in the park is free and available to all.
5.Book a holiday.
It doesn’t have to be two weeks in the Maldives. A long weekend in Brighton is often enough to provide a change of scene, and it’s something to look forward to. A holiday in January is always a good idea, but don’t worry if work commitments mean you can’t do it until March. The fact that it’s in the diary will be enough to motivate you through the shortest days of winter.
6.Tackle at least one clearing out task.
Tidying the desk was one clearing up task, but make time for one major clear up too. It may be the cupboard under the stairs, the bottom of the wardrobe (how many pairs of shoes do you really need?) or in my case it’s the garage. It’s not good enough that I can close the door on the mess, just the continual thought of it is depressing and weighs down on me. It’s time to get it done and move on.
7.Make a mood-board for one decorating project.
Planning a decorating project is the fun part so do it now even if you don’t plan to get out the paint pots until spring. Whether you use Pinterest or good old fashioned paper and glue it’s always good to collect all of the images that inspire you the most in one place and dream. It will give you time to live with the scheme for a while (especially if it’s pasted on you wall) and decide if it’s really the colour scheme for you.
8.Make time for yourself.
Not everything you do in January has to be motivational. There will be days in the month when it’s cold and wet outside and all you want to do is curl up under the duvet and read magazines. That’s okay too. Take time for long leisurely baths. Use all of the oils and potions you received in your stocking and have a few early nights too. These feelings will pass.
9.Try at least 3 new recipes.
It’s easy to get into a rut in the kitchen. Now might be a good time to experiment with ingredients and try something new. If it’s a particularly healthy recipe that’s a bonus too.
10.Don’t feel guilty.
Even if you get to the end of the month without keeping any of those well intentioned resolutions, there’s no need to feel bad at all.
See tip No.1