By Racheal Bola-Keji
The transition from December to January can often be one many people struggle with. From celebrating the holiday festivities to suddenly being back at work, January can often hit us with the biggest reality check. That reality being that our well deserved winter break is over. The days are longer and darker, temperatures are colder and it can seem like there is nothing to look forward to. All these factors can cause us to feel low, sad, demotivated and even tired.
If you are reading this thinking ‘yes I can relate’ or ‘this is me’, trust me you are not alone. This feeling of melancholy can often be described as the ‘January Blues’.
What are the January Blues?
Catherine Phillips, writer for the Metro, refers to the January Blues as :
“the knowledge that after Christmas and New Year’s individuals tend to hit a bit of a wall and begin feeling down.”
This can be triggered by many things such as : the change of weather, the lasting effects of Christmas expenses, failing our new year’s resolutions early or even lack of motivation. So around this time, it is very easy to fall under the trap of negativity especially when things aren’t going how we planned for the year.
But the worst thing to do when we feel this way is to eat into our negative and discouraging thoughts. This is easier said than done of course because I have definitely had my own share of wallowing and complaining. “If only the winter break was longer”, “why me?”, “ I really don’t want to go back to work”- I have said it all and meant it all. But this year, I have decided to say no to the January Blues. Instead of succumbing to my negative emotions, I will actively be working on remaining positive and grateful.
Roy T Bennet says it best:
“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”
And I totally agree with Mr Bennet! Nobody thought we would start 2021 stuck in another lockdown! But we’ve overcome it before so we can overcome it again. This notion stands with January Blues. If we work to overcome it now, we will be better equipped to keep overcoming it.
So if like me you are tired of the low moods, tiredness and de motivation, keep reading.
Below are 3 tips that have helped me beat my January blues.
How to overcome the January Blues:
1. Realign your mind
I’m a strong believer in ‘it all starts with the mind’. Our mind is a powerful place, it is where our thoughts reside, our inner conscience and in some cases it can be our driving force. Joyce Myer (author) once said
“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”
and that changed everything for me. We can’t expect to have positive feelings and have a negative outlook on life. A positive mind ultimately leads to a positive life.
Look at it this way, if a car lacks fuel it is very unlikely that it will function to its full capacity. So in order to keep a car moving, you need to continually fill up the tank right? The same principle applies to our mind, we need to continually fill it up with positive thoughts in order to function to our full capacity.
2. Stay Active
Going outside may be the last thing you want to do when unmotivated and tired. But sometimes what we want isn’t always what’s best for us! Whenever I feel down, I always try to go on 10-30 minute walks. It may seem like nothing but getting fresh air can make a big difference. Walking can really help us clear our minds and understand what we are feeling. In some cases, exercising can actually reduce negative moods. This is because when we exercise chemicals like endorphins and serotonin are being released- chemicals commonly known as happy hormones.
So if you are feeling lazy, tired and unmotivated, I would advise going outdoors regularly. I am not a gym fanatic or even an outdoor person but I find that when I push myself to go walks, I thank myself for it later. And if you don’t want to walk alone, maybe find a walking partner or do indoor workouts at home. What you don’t want to do is stay in bed all day because that does more damage than good.
3. Treat Yourself
As humans we are always on the go, we never really take time to treat ourselves for the hard work we do. There is always a big misconception that treating yourself is about buying fancy items, going on holidays, getting your hair done etc. All these things are treats. But having a nice warm bath, drinking a glass of wine or binge watching your favorite show can also be a way to treat yourself.
The magic of treating yourself, is not so much in what you do but having something to look forward to.
No matter how miserable you are feeling, always give yourself a break! Because you deserve it! Nobody wants to experience a burnout! So treat yourself once in a while, take a breather and look after yourself.
The Active Edit
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! These are just 3 out of many ways you can overcome the January Blues. Remember that it is okay to not be okay! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Our mood fluctuates all year round, that’s normal. But understanding why and having the tools to tackle it, is essential to enjoy life even when things aren’t as expected.
If you have any further tips on how to overcome the blues of January, we would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.