The New Year can be an opportunity for a fresh start, but short days and bad weather can make it hard to feel that way. After the festive period is over, we often have nothing to look forward to but a few more months of wintery weather. This is the dreaded “January blues” – amplified even more this year as we face a month of Covid-19 related lockdown. Here are 5 tips to avoid those blues, take some care of yourself and get 2021 off to a positive start.
- Avoid unrealistic New Year’s resolutions.
“New year, new me” is a term we hear all the time around January. And while it’s important to set goals and try better ourselves, we’re often ridiculously unrealistic. Goal setting for the new year can trigger an all or nothing mentality that turns out inflicting more pressure than motivation, and can be one of the main causes of the January blues. No one likes to be a failure – so you should make sure your New Year’s resolutions are achievable! Make sure they’re things you can actually do, and form a proper plan to get them done. There’s nothing worse than failing with your resolutions before January is even over. Check out how to be smarter about your resolutions here.
- Go outside.
January blues are made worse by the lack of daylight. It’s dark when you leave the house in the morning, and it’s dark when you leave work in the evening. Daylight lifts the mood, even if the sun is behind the clouds, so make sure to leave your desk at lunchtime and get outside – even if you’re working from home like the majority of us at the moment. Go for a stroll in your local park and take in the scenery.
While it seems like a cliché, exercise is helpful in keeping up your spirits. Find a type of exercise that works for you, be that dancing, yoga, swimming, running, walking, or strength training. It will work wonders for your body and your mind. Even though gyms aren’t open at the moment, there’s plenty of online videos to guide you. And it doesn’t have to be a hardcore training session either – even just a short walk or a quick 10 minute HIIT workout can do wonders for your mental and physical health, and keep those January blues at bay.
- Take some time for yourself.
It’s important to have some time alone with ourselves doing something we enjoy. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially with the go-go-go mentality that we can have at the beginning of a new year, we can forget all about taking some time to breathe and do something we enjoy. This could be playing a video game, listening to some music, or reading a good book. Burying yourself in a gripping book of your choice is a great way to take your mind off feeling low and keep away the January blues. Here’s some of the top books right now to have a read of.
- Have a digital detox.
Laptops, tablets and smartphones all overstimulate our mind daily – and constantly checking them doesn’t do your mental health any favours. Comparing our lives with those of people we follow is a bad habit to get into. Try to start by setting an hour per day aside to be free from your digital devices or even just start putting your phone away during meals or when you’re with family or friends, and then build this up. Replace scrolling on social media with some calming meditation, and you will find this does wonders for mental clarity and peace of mind. Here’s some tips on how to effectively digitally detox.