January can be a discouraging month. All the Christmas festivities are over but a long winter still lies ahead and you may have lost all motivation. If your enthusiasm for life has evaporated and nothing lights your fire, you need a boost.
DON’T PUSH TOO HARD
You may well feel impatient with yourself and long to get going. Where has all the enjoyment and stimulation gone? Yet the more you try for that energy and enthusiasm the more it seems to disappear and you slump back onto the couch more disillusioned then ever.
If you expect too much too quickly that could be counterproductive. Each time you don’t quite measure up, you feel worse, so spiraling downwards. Accept that this isn’t the highest energy time and be gentle with yourself.
SLOWING DOWN IS NATURAL
During the cold, dark times of winter we are internally programmed to retreat and rest. Although we live in a world of perpetual activity, city lights shining all night, activity always on offer, our bodies carry a much more ancient conditioning. It is perfectly natural to want to take it easy and to change your rhythms.
Before you give yourself a hard time for not going to the gym, sorting the house and pushing ahead with career plans, pause to reflect that it might actually be doing you good to ‘hibernate’ a little.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
If you want to channel inspiration, forget forcing yourself to tackle something arduous and challenging. Instead do more of what makes you happy. As long as this isn’t self-destructive in some way it could be just what you need. Think reading, meditating, catching up with friends. Anything that makes you feel warm inside can be the first step in feeling enthusiastic about life.
TRY GENTLE PURSUITS
Lots of exercise may seem the perfect antidote to festive excesses, but that can be demoralizing if your energy has disappeared. So why not try something gentler such as meditating, mindfulness, yoga or similar. All of these can be beneficial – it doesn’t have to hurt to do you good! Success can build on success, pushing you on to more demanding pursuits, if they are right for you.
LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER
Staying snuggly is lovely but you’ll appreciate it even more if you go out into the cold and come back to a warm welcome. More than this, there is a magic in Nature whatever the season. You’ll find that looking at the bare trees, experiencing the solid earth beneath your feet and breathing the free air will balance your state of mind. In fact you may feel very enriched.
Animals can also be a great gift. Learn simple pleasures from your pets. Enjoy their warm presence. Play with them and discouragement will evaporate.
HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Many people plan and book their holidays in January. Looking at images of sea and sun and dreaming of fun times ahead makes you feel life is really worth living. If possible organise a summer break now. Even better, have a short break to anticipate in the early Spring will make the winter seem shorter.
If a holiday is outside your budget this could make you more down, but there’s no need. You can still make plans to meet up with friends and visit interesting places. Look to the future and the present will become more vibrant.
BEING ACTIVE GIVES YOU ENERGY
If you’re sitting around telling yourself you’re too tired to do anything, just one small step could be all it takes. Once you start moving you actually get more energy. There’s nothing more exhausting than inactivity!
Promise yourself that you will do just a little bit. Put some music on and dance. Go for a ten minute walk. Do some gentle stretches and yoga positions. Without doubt you will feel more energetic than when you started.
FRIENDS CAN BE A SUPPORT
You won’t be the only person who has lost their oomph in January. Talk about that drained, pointless mood and you’ll find plenty of people who share it. Realising you’re not the only one makes it seem less daunting.
If you plan activities with friends you can encourage each other. When one of you goes all floppy and wants to dip out the others can apply some good-natured bullying-tactics and soon you’ll all be lively again.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve learnt not to push too hard and that slowing down is natural. Trying gentle pursuits, learning from Nature and having something to look forward to are all good ideas. You can get energy from activity and the support of your friends – so now you are armed with several strategies to recapture your oomph.
PUBLISHED: 09 January 2018