“January Blues.” Is this really a ‘thing’? Or are we simply just exhausted from Christmas with its never-ending demand for such high expectations and all the stress that 2021 shoveled upon us?
Fast forward, Mid-January has arrived, along with the credit card statement that says quite clearly how you over-compensated for ‘one hell of a year’. Christmas and New Year celebrations have said their ‘goodbyes’, the glorious Christmas tree, dripping with way too many fairy lights, that took you days to decorate is now relegated to the cold loft for another 11 months. The once glowing sitting room which resembled a wintery vista of Germany is gone, its bareness and what was once fashionably called ‘Shabby chic’ now reminds you how badly your home needs redecorating. Never has any month on your new ‘National Trust’ calendar hanging on the cupboard door looked so devoid of joy to you as of January 2022.
The brief but sweet hiatus from our usual everyday life is over and ‘usual service has resumed’.
It’s all too easy to fall down the dark hole of ‘habitual negativity’ at this time of year, which only perpetuates the thoughts & feelings you’re experiencing. You might be short tempered, tired, apathetic and somewhat detached which can lead to you not being ‘plugged in’ and present in not only your life but those around you.
I have for many a year now avoided the temptation to make New Year’s resolutions, simply because I usually fall at the first hurdle. I drag along my bruised sense of self-worth to my self-hosted pity party, accompanied by mini violin and a multi-pack of stale cheese twists, and dwell on my failings.
So how can we find realistic ways to change our mindset to find something special, worthwhile, and exciting to look forward to even embrace…too much? Well, let’s start with changing our outlook.
The early part of the New can often for many of us lack a purpose, and without that change is harder to make in our lives. It’s a driver to go forward, to look at our options, time to dig deep and ask ourselves what do we feel is lacking in our lives and how can we make the changes necessary for us to feel fulfilled, content, productive, dare I say even happy? You need to be committed though, realistic, and open to change, are you?
1) Be realistic.
Many of us start the new year off with great plans, the list might include getting healthy, stop smoking, cut down on alcohol, change jobs, find love, move house, get a pet?! But do we set ourselves up for failure by trying to achieve too many things all at the same time in too short a time? Change can be demanding, tiring, and just hard. But if you take it slowly, have measurable ways of seeing your achievements you avoid being discouraged and potentially losing the motivation because of what you perceive to be lack of success. Start off with something small and build up to the bigger things. When you’ve successfully gone a whole week without sugar in your tea, be positive; recognise the achievement, and move on to your next goal. You might find it useful to have someone that you share your aims with and trust. Having someone to ‘check-in with’ gives you encouragement, support and keeps you focused.
2) Music is such a powerful mood disruptor.
We all attach music to personal events that have happened in our lives, specific people, places, and a period in our life evoking a feeling, a memory, and an emotion. Be mindful to listen to music that you know will lift your mood; it’s all too easy to play the same playlist over and over again, try something new, and look for something uplifting. Avoid what you know lowers your mood. There are many apps that have playlists ready to go to fit your mood at the time, just avoid too much Adele!
3) Plan, plan, plan!
Holidays, date nights with friends, New Year discounted prices at the theatres in cities all over the country are an opportunity to see a show, a play, a concert. Arrange supper/movie nights at home with friends or family, you cook an easy meal, they bring the popcorn and enjoy being with others, live in the moment. Force yourself to make plans, put events, and ‘catch ups’, even planned phone calls in your diary so that you’ve got something to look forward to. Be bold, ask a friend or work colleague out for a cheeky mid-week meal in the new Italian restaurant you’ve been eyeing up for months. It’s so important to have a purpose in our everyday lives, without that staying in your pj’s is way too inviting, and whilst it might sound like heaven it’s just not good for us!
4) Try to do one spontaneous positive thing for yourself and others every day.
Smile at a stranger. Buy someone a coffee. There’s joy in the small, kind, and purposeful things that help us to think a little wider than ourselves. What’s better than seeing someone smile at you for an impulsive act of kindness or a moments interaction that brightens not only your day but theirs?
Are you the friend that others call upon when they’re having a tough time? Have you asked yourself why? Maybe because they know you’ll be honest, say it as it is. Is it because you support and encourage them, do you tell and show them they’re important, worthy, and valued? Then how about writing a letter to yourself? I know it sounds a bit odd, but it really works. For every counterargument and obstacle ‘you’ put up, the letter-writing ‘you’, can support, encourage, and show you how to be kind to yourself. You’ll be amazed at what great advice you give to yourself and what a great friend you have in yourself.