I’ve always hated January. ‘Tis the season for suicides, self-help books and all round scrimpage after the festive blow-out. Boring. Even when I was a kid, the day the Christmas decorations came down and went back up the attic was downright distressing. The house was stripped bare – of both the tinsel, the food and the family members who had come to stay – and the dark winter mornings and evenings became a little darker and drearier without all the fairy lights. Everyone and everything suddenly sobered up and went back to normal, and I hated that.
I always found going back to school so much harder in January than I did in September. I fought it. Hard. I didn’t want to go anywhere, I just wanted to stay at home and watch videos all day with the family tub of Cadbury Roses. And not much has changed! As soon as January – the old foe – returns, all I want to do is eat my weight in Cadburry’s Buttons and then hibernate in bed with Netflix.
Whilst it’s completely normal to get a dose of the morbs this time of year, there are a few tricks I’ve picked up over the years to help me grin and bear the gloom, and get over the January Blues.
▲Fairy Lights aren’t just for Christmas. Okay, I’m not suggesting that you keep your Christmas Tree up until it goes brown, but there’s nothing wrong with wrapping some fairy lights around your headboard or stringing them over your desk or putting some battery operated ones in a jar. If you struggle with the bare corners and inevitable lack of sparkle that comes with taking the decorations down, this will definitely help. In Reykjavik there were fairy lights everywhere even though it was the middle of January, which must definitely to help cheer things up during dark winter days.
▲ Make Plans. You’ve hung up your favourite party dress, tossed all the empty bottles in the green bin and polished off that last slice of Yule Log and… suddenly, your diary’s got more gaps in it than the London Underground. What the hell happened? When the party season’s over, life can feel a little empty. So, do something about it! Make plans to look forward to! Meet up with friends, organise a ‘just because’ party, go somewhere or do something new. If you’ve got enough cash left over from Christmas, book a getaway. Being able to fill those empty gaps in your new diary or on your new calendar is hugely satisfying, and having things to look forward to will help pull you through to Spring.
(If you know someone who’s at risk of moping in January then organising a few experiences as Christmas gifts instead of simply loading them with socks and bath bombs is a great idea!)
▲Enjoy having an excuse to cwtch! During the winter months Scandinavians practice something called hygge (“hooga”), which roughly translates as cosiness – a lot like our favourite Welsh word, cwtch. When it’s dark and cold outside, Scandinavians create a warm atmosphere at home and enjoy the simple things in life with their favourite people. So if your way of combating the January Blues is normally to cwtch on the sofa and binge-watch something new on Netflix, do it! But take a tip from Scandinavia, why not invite some friends around to join in? Cook something together (or order-in, why not?), grab a glass of wine and then cwtch up and enjoy.
▲Set Some Goals / Start a Project. I don’t usually subscribe to the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. The truth is that you can turn over a new leaf or start something new any day of the year, but doing it in January is a great way to preoccupy and focus your mind at a time when you’re at risk of feeling down. Take a class and learn something new (a great way to meet some new people too!). Make a list of all the books you want to read but haven’t got around to yet. Start a 365 project. Redecorate or update your look. Start saving. Set some personal targets and make this year the year to get stuff done! 🙂
How do you fend off the January blues?