February 22, 2024

Here's how to banish the January blues

You're not alone. We've all heard of them and most of us have experienced them too. Here's a few tried and tested cures...

It's fair to say that statements such as “January is so miserable” and “I’m hopeless at sticking to new year’s resolutions — I always fail, what's the point?” are commonly heard at this time of year.

Personally, I feel lowest in energy and mood in November when the light and the earth energy draw in. For me, January is the time of new beginnings. Even though the days are still short and the nights long, the Winter Solstice on 21st December celebrates the return of the light and the stepping towards springtime. There's a fresh, new energy to tap into, to draw strength from. These are my tips for learning to love the most unloved month of them all.

Frosty pink cosmos flowers

Reframe the way you see January

This January, try to seize the new energy and use it to recalibrate. If you're entertaining negative thoughts, check yourself. Thoughts are only thoughts and they are not necessarily true. We don’t’ have to believe them or be drawn further into them.

Pause. Become aware of any habitual patterns of thinking, examine them, acknowledge that they are not facts, then let them go. Free up space and begin to entertain more helpful, encouraging and inspiring thoughts with curiosity and openness.

Three ways to look at January with openness and curiosity

  • Think of January as a new beginning — let it lift your spirit and energy levels. Thinking in this way can help to broaden your perspective on the year ahead.

  • Think of January as the turning point, moving us towards spring once again. Although the land and the trees still look bare, take a moment to recognise that beneath the earth there is much activity, as nature prepares for new life to come.

  • Think of January as the ideal month to review last year and to set intentions for the future. Make time to reflect — settle down with a notebook and a warm drink. The practice can be most enjoyable and inspiring. I’ve just done it!

Snowdrops peaking through the snow

Move more

January is an ideal month to start exercising at a sustainable pace that suits you. Think about how often you want to do it, how long for and how it can fit into your day and week. It’s easy to mentally plan things, but our day-to-day life is often quite different. Start small. Take time to check the effects it is having on your mind and body. And remember, doing some exercise once a week is much better than avoiding it all together.

Organise affordable activities

  • invite a friend over for a coffee

  • try out a new recipe and invite people over to try it, or organise a pot luck and ask everyone to bring a dish — shared lunches or dinners can be great fun

  • if you work in an office, organise a shared lunch

  • explore your local area and go for a walk — you don’t always need to go far to relax and restore

  • read, make things, go to a gallery or museum

Ask yourself reflective questions as you look to the future

  • where do you want to be by the end of this year?
  • what one giant leap could you take to make this happen?
  • and what small step could you take today?

Acknowledge the good in life

Notice good, beautiful and small things that you enjoy and appreciate. Recognise that these things are always there, even when you're locked up with a bad case of the January blues. Writing down things that you have liked and appreciated in your day strengthens the part of the brain that can see and absorb good, and this in turn strengthens mental resilience and has the power to lift our mood.

Letting in the good and noticing the pleasant things in life is important, and is different from being grateful for the things and experiences we have.

Tiny waving snowman

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