Looking at the dark grey skies and watching the wind driving rain onto the windows, it’s tough to raise enthusiasm in January. What’s needed is a mindset change to make everything seem a whole lot better. For this guide, we look at simple changes you and I can make that could make the first month of the year feel a whole lot better.
In January 2016, The Metro published an article titled “11 reasons why January is the Worst“. In it, Emily Jane Clark discussed her post-Christmas comedown, feeling like a failure, the dreaded school run, and a bruised bank account, amongst many other negatives that made the year’s first month feel really bleak for her.
According to Google, there were more than 60,000 searches during the month of December for the term ‘New Years Resolution’, and in the past week, starting January 1st, we’ve seen an annual peak in searches for terms like ‘diet’, ‘gym’, ‘workout’, and ‘protein’.
While healthy eating, gym memberships, detoxes and everything in between have all officially got underway, there’s no denying that Emily’s article is full of some potentially hard-to-swallow home truths!
Motivation is at an all-time low in January, and despite the best will in the world, off the back of an action-packed December, even the most disciplined of individuals would struggle to commit to a strict diet, no alcohol, an intense training plan, and a productive working schedule.
What’s the one thing we’re all missing in January that December had in abundance? Comfort! Whether it be food, a roaring fire, or time spent with the family with food in front of the roaring fire, the month we’ve just left is soaked in comfort like a Christmas pudding is soaked in brandy!
So, without further ado, let’s look at how you can make month one that little bit more comfortable to mitigate those dreaded January blues!
Get something in the diary
One of the best things about Christmas is the build-up – as soon as Halloween’s over, we know the countdown is on until December 25th. We’re all creatures of habit, and Christmas is perfect for fueling that need to have something planned without actually having to organise that much.
In January, decide where you’re going to go on holiday this year, what you’re going to do for Easter, and if you live away from home when you’re going to take your next trip back! If you can afford it now, book it; if you can’t, don’t be afraid to hold off – mark it on the wall planner and every day, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you’re one day closer to your next adventure.
Capture much-needed vitamin D
The good news about January is that we’re moving towards the sunlight, brighter evenings, and mornings – that said, because the darkness has now been engulfing us for four months, the circadian rhythm is very much out of kilter.
For those who work 9-5 in an office environment, it might be difficult to grasp any bit of daylight; when possible, get outside, even for 15 minutes, and enjoy the presence of the sun.
Exposure to the sun is said to positively impact serotonin levels, ultimately boosting your mood and helping you maintain a state of calm and focus – essential when trying to achieve strict goals in regard to work and health.
The season of giving might be beyond us, but there’s no set date when it comes to spoiling yourself. If you’re detoxing, refraining from eating sweets, and starving yourself of the things you consider luxury in your life, you will inevitably feel down. Therefore pick yourself back up again with a little present for yours truly. Wanting to feel properly comfortable? What about a new pair of UGGs – the perfect addition to your footwear collection when working from home.
Keeping your screen activity to a minimum can be difficult at the best of times, especially for someone who works with modern technologies and spends most of their day sitting in front of a computer.
That said, being able to devote focus and dedication to your desired goals with satisfaction in January can be massively inhibited by increased time spent scrolling – something many of us do in 2023 subconsciously as a comfort mechanism.
Jai Medical Systems says, “By reducing screen time, you allow your brain to slow down and focus on tasks without distraction. Over time, this increases your ability to focus and regulate emotions and helps you organise thoughts and tasks.”
Don’t spend January glued to TikTok, down tools, so to speak, and opt for some non-digitised reading in your leisure time.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
We’ve already mentioned it, but January can be a struggle – the January blues can take their toll! However, in a little over ten weeks, the sun will be setting past 7 pm, and we’ll be closer to the warm weather than we are to the cold.
Similarly, when it comes to eating healthily and getting back into a routine of exercise, while it might be painstaking at the start, the more you grin and bear it and keep plodding on, the sooner you’ll start to find it easy!
If you accept that for a short period of time, you’re going to be uncomfortable, you’ll soon recognise that you’re a lot closer to feeling better again!
January might seem like a bad month, but it’s all based on perspective, and it can be made much better through sheer perseverance! Our advice is to break free from that negative mind loop, remind yourself that you are here, you are in control and change the way you look at things—it will make a world of difference. So, feel positive, be kind and make January a great month.
Read more lifestyle guides, news and reviews here.