Since the new year glitter-dust settled three weeks ago, it seems like the media world has been overcome in equal measure with the fear of the dreaded ‘January Blues’ and its suggested antidotes. It is a month both blasted and heralded - for some it brings the misery of delayed paychecks, frozen windscreens and mental or emotional distress. For others, it brings a new year, a new start and a chance to detox all sorts of habits, products and foods from their daily lives. In fact, if January were a person, I’d feel sorry for it - it seems to be suffering from some kind of identity crisis!
We are inclined to forget, in the midst of phrases floating around such as ‘January Blues’, that a month is an arbitrary division of days going back thousands of years and designed to assist farming communities in planning their crops. To put it another way: January was not invented to vex you! So, with so-called ‘Blue Monday’ out of the way (apparently the most ‘depressing’ day of the year, though I object to such a word being used in a non-medical context),how can January, and for that matter February and March, become the months for you to thrive? In no particular order, here are some suggestions, at home and at work, to make the Winter months your friend:
- Drink less caffeine but more hot drinks - most brands (including supermarket own brands) now have decaffeinated versions of your favourite warm beverages. Maintain all the comforting benefits of a coffee or herbal tea but without the restless nights!
- Have a clear out - whether you’ve jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon (worth a google) or find her method a little trite, most of us feel better after a good clear out. We recommend applying this clear out to your work-life too: set aside one hour a week to sort, recycle and shred unneeded resources or finally change your displays. We all know that hour could be spent on something else, but set it aside all the same. You’ll gain far more than you lose in that time slot.
- Be outside as much as possible - is it possible for you to take a stroll around the grounds at break or lunch? Commit to doing this once or twice a week. Could you be doing something else? Yes. Should you take a walk anyway? Yes. Fresh air and exercise - nature’s endorphins!
- Make plans - try hard not to go to ground during these months, even if some of your friends and colleagues do. Blank out some diary time in the coming weeks to see someone and do something. That previous bullet point still applies here too!
- Remember the days are lengthening - and they have been for a month now! Each day, you are gaining about a minute of light a day and this will steadily increase. Why not use that extra minute a day for a meditation, mindfulness exercise, thank you note, text to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or other life-affirming activity?
Whatever January means for your, personally and professionally, that ‘blue’ colour isn’t fixed - paint over it!