I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that January can be hard. The dark mornings, the barely there daylight, the cold weather that makes you dread getting out from under your duvet, and the often critically low bank balance following the extravagance that surrounds December. Despite January being my birthday month, so I do usually stick up for the poor thing, even I am glad that we are nearing the end now.
As we inch further and further away from the joys of Christmas, Spring begins to feel all the more tangible, and that in itself fills me with optimism. The minute January is out of the way, everyone slowly stops babbling on about how drab life is, maybe because most people get paid at the end of the month, who knows. Either that, or there is just a mass personal vendetta against my birth month. Whatever the cause, I feel like everyone needs a helping hand to see the brighter side of life at this time of year, so here are a few little tips I have personally been using to keep in that positive frame of mind throughout the dull vibes that are January. They might be a bit different to the usual tips, so I hope you find this useful!
1. Journal. This is something I’m trying for the first time this year. I’m using a 2019 diary to jot down my thoughts, feelings, and achievements each day. And I’m hoping that on any given down day I can flick back through time and reflect on better days, and simply remind myself that there has been, and there will be more, better days. It’s also great to honestly write down how you feel on the not-so-good days. It helps to show you when you most need it, that you’ve been there before, and gotten through it, and you will do it again. A basic premise to remember is that we need the bad to appreciate the good, and writing them both down really helps piece things together that might feel a bit muddled in our brains, and allows us to focus on positive ways forward..
2. Zone Out. Whether that’s reading a book, going to the cinema, or binge watching a series on Netflix. DO something that takes your brain away from any doom and gloom you’re dealing with at the moment and just give yourself a well earned break. Relaxing and detaching from your woes, even if just for an hour or so, will help you to gain a fresh outlook and dash of motivation to drill forwards when you inevitably zone back in to your real world.
3. Look Up. It’s so easy to get consumed by our own little bubble, and forget about the big wide world that is out there. It’s important to keep our view in perspective. Our problems can often seem so magnified in our own minds, when in reality it’s barely even a splash in the ocean. Just doing an action as simple as looking up and actually seeing the sky, physically noticing the birds as they tweet in the trees above your head, and taking in the rays of sunshine that are beaming down before your eyes, can be a special and comforting moment. Even if just for 30 seconds. Nature is insane. And this world we live in is marvellous and we are damn lucky to be here.
4. Exercise. Even if, like me, you’re not a natural gym bunny. Go for whatever takes your fancy. Whatever works for you. Whether it’s yoga, swimming, a walk, a spin class (no thank-you), or a jog outside. It’s cliche to say it, but endorphins really do do wonders for optimism.
5. Set Goals. First off, keep it small. Your goal, like me, might simply be to exercise at least once a week, every week, through January. Or maybe you’re trying to curb a sugar habit? Or even get more well deserved sleep? Whatever it is you want to improve, keep focus on it. Having goals to work towards or keep you on a positive path, always helps you get to where you want to be. As well as the smaller things, I also try and write down a few things each year. Not quite a set list of resolutions, but usually more of a mixture of personal target’s I want to achieve in my career, financially, or in my personal life throughout the year. To be honest I usually forget about said list and find it 6 months later, to which I’m often thrilled to see I’ve managed to tick a few things off. Is there a better feeling that ticking off a list? I think not.
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6. Cook a meal from scratch. There is something about making a healthy meal in which you know every single ingredient that you are putting into your body, that makes me feel super positive and in-control. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have days where I default to a frozen pizza, but those days are becoming few and far between as I’ve really reaped the benefits, mentally as well as physically, of being organised and healthy with the food I cook.
7. Break from Social Media. The classic feel-good instruction. Something most of us need to consciously do more of nowadays. Life is not designed to be lived online. We should be living IRL. And more often than not social media can be a little demon preventing us from actually ‘living our best life’.
Even if you just focus on doing one of these little things I’ve listed, I really do think it will help you put a more positive spin on things when you are in need of a bit of a nudge along. They really work for me and are all small things I’m definitely going to keep incorporating into my life daily as a form of genuine self care. Overused buzzword alert there, sorry.