Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be a tough one. In November and December, I tend to distract myself from the shorter days and longer nights by looking forward to Christmas and New Year, throwing myself physically and mentally into preparing, decorating my home and getting together with friends and family. But once January arrives, the things I’ve been looking forward to are gone and now it’s just weeks ahead of cold weather, cloudy days and just a smidgen of sunlight a few hours a day at best.
My birthday is at the end of January and in my younger days, I used to use that as my focus to get through the bleaker weeks but as you get older, birthdays lose a bit of significance and after 40, you sort of start to dread them a bit. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a much stronger, wiser, more confident and more knowledgable person than I ever was in my 20’s and for the life I have now, I’m incredibly grateful. As they say, getting older is much better than the alternative! But it’s still rarely something I’m happy to celebrate in it’s truest form. It’s just another number ticking along, getting higher as the years go by!
And so January for me tends to be the hardest month to get through in the whole year. I find myself willing the days away until mid-February when suddenly, the very first beginnings of Spring start to arrive. The days are a little longer, the sun hangs that much higher in the sky. It gives me hope. But January? January kind of sucks, if I’m totally honest.
In fact, the 3rd Monday in January – the 21st this year – is officially crowned “Blue Monday”. A combination of miserable weather, post-Christmas blues and the arrival of credit card bills are the reasons why this day is considered the most miserable day of the whole year. Wow, talk about pressure, eh?
But there are some easy ways to get through the January blues and these are as much for me to try to keep my spirits up as they are for sharing with you.
My natural instinct is to hibernate for the whole of January. Thick socks, comfy loungewear and the odd Netflix binge can make for a cosy day but when that turns into your every day then things can start to go downhill. Your body is craving the serotonin release that naturally occurs when we’re out in the sunshine so getting outside – even when it’s cold and overcast – can be a great way to get yourself moving.
We recently decided to get a yearly membership to the National Trust which means we have a host of choice to just get outside, go for a walk in the beautiful countryside and check out some amazing buildings too. Shropshire has stunning countryside and plenty of walking trails so we are going to take advantage of that and the membership just makes that an additional incentive. Wherever you live, get yourself to a local park, take a drive to a nearby beach (I’ve always loved the seaside in winter), go on a hike somewhere local to you.
The adrenaline from moving your body as well as the extra hit of Vitamin D from the sun will boost your mood and your energy levels.
Decide on Achievable Goals
I’ve never been one for big New Year Resolutions but I do like making plans for the year ahead and setting myself some goals. One of the best ways to achieve your goals is by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable achievements. So, for instance, instead of swearing you are going to lose 2 stone this year, start by deciding you are going to make yourself a healthy breakfast every single day. Start small, start simple and achievable.
January may not be the best time of year (for all of the above reasons I mentioned) for creating huge goals for yourself. By breaking them down and creating smaller, more achievable ones, you will set yourself on the path to success. Ticking small goals off provides that adrenaline boost we all crave and knowing you are working towards a bigger, long-term goal will keep you motivated to continue rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Change Your Money Mindset
I joined in Sarah Akwisombe’s NBBS Money + Manifesting Course the very first time she ran it and loved it. I followed up the course with lots of reading, lots of visualisation, lots of new ways to override my old, ingrained patterns of how I thought about money. I loved doing the course and the exciting thing when she ran it again later in the year, I was able to repeat the course (pay once and you have lifetime access). She’s recently released a totally free 3-day Money Mindset Accelerator which has boosted my spirits once again.
The course will be open again soon and I’m really looking forward to joining in once more. I’ve always been a believer in positive thinking but the course (and the supporting Facebook group) has helped me to think about money and making money in a whole new way. I’m more open to opportunities, I’m not panicked when experiencing seasonal fluctuations in the industry and I actually have savings in my bank account now. When the bills for Christmas come in, I am actually grateful that it’s allowed me to have a wonderful Christmas rather than experience panic or negative feelings.
January can be a tough time when you are worried about finances. Changing the way you think about money can play a huge role by replacing those negative views into more positive ones and give you the boost to look for ways to create abundance in your life. I’d highly recommend the 3-day challenge to start with to get a taster and see if the course is right for you.
I know a lot of people who plan their holidays in January. It’s a great way to get thinking about sunny days ahead. However, you don’t even have to plan for a big holiday if that’s not in the budget at the moment. Christmas is always a busy time and while everyone has settled back into a more normal routine, why not plan a few days out with friends or family that you weren’t able to during the holidays?
Simple things like going ice skating on a Saturday afternoon or simply getting together with friends for lunch at that new restaurant in town or even simply entertaining at home where everyone brings a dish can be a great way to keep your spirits high. Make plans that are easy and achievable – smaller days out and friendly get-togethers can easily get you through the coldest months and give you something to look forward to.
I hope these tips have helped but of course, now, I’d love to know how you get over the January Blues – leave me a comment and let me know what you’re doing to make January just that bit more bearable!
*The suggestions here are for those who are experiencing the general fatigue that winter brings and aren’t a replacement for medical advice. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety over the winter months, please see your GP or a medical professional for additional help and support.