LET'S BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HOLIDAY COIN…
December and the holidays are often joyful times, even hectic. Buying gifts and attending gatherings and celebrations (as much as current conditions allow it). Taking a few days off or having a vacation. Sort of a break from everyday life and routine. Exposure to a multitude of stimuli – guaranteed.
And then January hits us like a ton of bricks. That month in the year that was given the title of most depressing. On top of that, the third Monday in January got an even harsher deal – it was declared the most depressing day of the year. The Christmas lights are gone, we’re returning to our usual pace. The amount of holiday excitement has dropped drastically. We’ve run out of jolly, often emptying our wallets at the same time. We think about New Year's resolutions – we’re burdened by them if they’re not going according to plan. It’s cold outside, often gloomy. The days are still short. We spend a lot of time indoors; we don't get enough movement or exercise.
…IS EASIER WHEN WE THINK ABOUT IT
We often forget that the holidays and festivities are fleeting (but also return to us each year!). January and its dormancy, then, seem incredibly empty and unfulfilling. We’re not sure how to fill the "gap". Fortunately, we can always examine our thoughts. Is January really that void and sad? Isn't it a month like any other, but after all the holiday activities it seems kind of barren and depressing? Things aren’t black and white, but it’s helpful to take a critical approach to your thoughts. Most often they are not facts. They are notions with feelings painted onto them. Once the facts are separated from impressions, things can get a lot easier.
WE KNOW HOW TO HELP OURSELVES
December often kicks us out of the routine, and then January brings us back into it abruptly, a bit harshly even. The first thing we can do is find help within ourselves. Reach for coping mechanisms we already have and know but have maybe forgotten about. In addition to the above-mentioned critical approach to thoughts, we have many other things at our disposal.
Take a walk or exercise. Physical activity is a great fighter against lethargy and moodiness. Combined with daylight, it’s even more effective. Take a 15-minute walk during the day, especially if it’s sunny. If you are at home, draw the curtains away, let the light in. If it’s gloomy or dark, turn on all the lights.
Think of activities that brighten your mood. Reading a book, having a coffee with a friend (online also counts), listening to your favorite music. Preparing your favorite dish, maybe. Making a plan to rearrange your living room furniture. Go for things that bring you back in touch with yourself. It doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming – as long as it cheers you up. Try turning some of the activities into a routine.
Practice kindness and tenderness towards yourself. Give yourself a tap on the shoulder for something you did. At the end of each day, write down on a piece of paper a moment that made you happy or something you’re proud of. Maybe something you’re grateful for; a beautiful word or some advice you got from a friend. Store these messages and read them whenever you feel like it. If you’re overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or lethargy, peek into your collection of happy moments. Remember – they have happened and will continue to do so.
LET NATURE TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
Going outdoors isn’t always an option. For moments spent at home or work, call on nature for help. Create an atmosphere that can lift your spirits. Essential oils and a diffuser will complete the picture. Sweet orange is a feel-good essential oil, while true lavender will do its best to fight stress and anxiety. Wake&Shake blend will give you an energy boost, while Peace&Quiet will bring peace and relaxation. Indian frankincense or clove, mixed into nourishing skin oils, will do their best to lift you up. The possibilities are many – it just takes a bit of curiosity.
YOU CAN HANDLE IT, OF COURSE
January blues, lethargy, and lack of motivation are nothing new, nor are they the end of the world. We can make them work in our favor. Stop for a moment, reassess, think things through. Reflect upon ourselves; our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; think about our values and needs; about our pace of living. It’s not always easy but can bring many a reward. Help yourself when you can and want to. At the same time, try to recognize moments when you’re not helping yourself at all. Find moderation, search for a middle ground. That is our nature – the point when we’re at our best. This is, after all, the way of nature itself. Give it a chance.