January is the longest, coldest month. Flat after Christmas and New Year, skint after the spend-fest, most of us struggle to get to the end of the month, emotionally and financially. But you can make January kinder and clearer with our guide.
BLUE MONDAY JANUARY 16th
‘Blue Monday’ is believed to be the most depressing day of the year. It falls on the second, third or fourth Monday of the year, depending which is approximately ½ - ¾ of the way through the month. It was ‘discovered’ in 2005 by Cliff Arnall, a tutor at Cardiff University. Although ‘Blue Monday’ has since been dismissed as pseudoscience, it is fairly sound common sense. Just around the time of Blue Monday Christmas cheer has totally dispersed, winter seems to have been going on forever and we realise there’s still loads of January left to endure.
Now you know about Blue Monday, here are some tips to get through it:
- Take the day off work and plan to spend it doing something active and interesting, getting out and about, or just relaxing
- Do something – anything – that’s totally new
- Get together with friends and have a good laugh
Once Blue Monday is behind you, you know the only way is up!
RESOLUTIONS – DON’T GO THERE
Do you want to make your January really bad? Then make some resolutions of the negative kind, such as giving up alcohol, going on a diet, giving up chocolate or whatever. January is the most difficult month for sticking to anything that deprives you. Not only are you likely to feel miserable because you’re robbed of your treat but also by mid-January – in fact by Blue Monday – you are likely to have failed in your resolution. This means you feel doubly bad – all that suffering followed by loss of self-esteem when you crumble!
If you want to make a ‘giving up’ resolution, best wait until the first signs of Spring and growing light make you hopeful and energetic.
Resolutions that can be good for January, however, are the positive ones, where you do more of what makes you creative, productive and fit. As long as you aren’t expecting too much of yourself, a little extra activity can stimulate and hearten you.
EXERCISE – YOU CAN’T BEAT IT
You probably know that exercise raises your body’s level of endorphins – feel-good hormones that are similar to morphine in their effects. Plan to do a little more exercise, but keep these points in mind:
Don’t over-commit. Your exercise must be easily manageable within your routine:
- If you are unfit, have a health-check and make sure you aren’t straining
- Choose an exercise that you like – don’t drag yourself off for half an hour’s boredom and discomfort because the virtuous feeling you get is unlikely to be reward enough to keep you going
- Try to exercise with friends, so you can encourage each other
LIGHT AND BRIGHT
One of the worst things about January is the darkness. Day seems not to get started till 9 am and by 3.30 it’s packing up. Many people go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. You may not see your home in daylight until the weekend, or your day off.
You will feel better if you get outside around midday, so, whatever the weather, make sure you can leave your work station for a little while, go outside and benefit from any sunshine there may be. Just being in the open air and reconnecting with Mother Earth will help you so much.
Alternatively, there are lamps you can buy that help banish SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you’ve been given money or tokens as a gift, maybe you could put this towards such a lamp, to help you into the Spring.
You know that this is likely to be a long, dreary month, that brings more than its share of troubles and anxieties, so be prepared. Look at your diary and make space for fun, so that every few days something makes you smile. Try the following:
- See good friends for a communal supper where you each bring something to eat and drink
- Have a pyjama day with the family
- Cook a completely different meal
- Treat yourself to a good book or box set
- Go to a comedy show, or do anything/be with anybody that makes you laugh
- Wrap up and go for a walk – the longest you can manage – and come home to hot chocolate and treats
- Spend time with animals and pets
- Talk, talk, talk – if anything is bothering you, chat with a sympathetic friend and get it off your chest
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve covered remarks about Blue Monday, resolutions, exercise, getting as much light as possible and having fun. You now have a whole bunch of strategies to get you through January. Sometimes a little help is nonetheless very welcome, and you may need someone helpful and sympathetic to get you through. No worries – our encouraging Readers are just a call away, so don’t stress on your own – get in touch today.
PUBLISHED: 04 January 2017