A simple guide to beating the January blues

January signifies the start of something new; this entails new resolutions, new plans, new goals, all to be fulfilled with a motivation that has suddenly sprouted in the new year. January can also signify something drastically different to some, however. Now that the holiday season is officially over, January can instead seem like the introduction to a pile of deadlines, responsibilities, and problems that were hidden under the festivities of Christmas.

To those who feel alone in their sluggish start to the New Year, you are definitely not the only one battling the ‘January Blues’.

But, like anything, every situation is directly related to perspective. The Student spoke to a few peers who have experienced the ‘January Blues,’ and collected pointers on how to get rid of this slump the best you can.

Sleep: You’ve heard it before: sleep is incredibly important to your overall well-being. This fact remains and in winter time it may be even more important. With a limited amount of sunlight, getting the Vitamin D you need is essential. Rising early, and ensuring you get at least six hours of sleep, will allow you to feel more productive (even before you accomplish anything at all).

Make plans: What’s the best way to get yourself out of bed? Your friends leaving a multitude of threatening missed calls for bailing on brunch. Making plans gives you something to look forward to, whilst ensuring you’re not spending time lying around feeling sorry for yourself. This can include fun friend-dates, visiting a museum, taking a shopping trip, or trying out a new cafe. Whatever it entails, planning ahead gives your brain a sense of order that can often be lacking when you’re feeling a little lost.

Try something new or get excited about something old: The New Year comes along with new opportunities. Luckily, January also marks Semester 2, and the prospects of joining societies during ‘re-freshers’ are endless. If embarking on a new adventure isn’t quite your thing, get excited about what you’re already doing. Focus on your degree and take time to call up old friends and share the start of the year. Throw yourself into your work, sport or art, and see the handwork pay off. Keeping yourself busy may be one of the best ways to get through this dreary time of year.

Treat yourself: Going through a slump isn’t something anybody wants. For that very reason, you have to take time to be kind to yourself. As silly as it may sound, acknowledging the feelings that come along with the Blues, and doing your best to respond to them, can work wonders. Exercises like journaling are great for clearing the mind and, if not, a face-mask or engaging in your favourite physical activities will have you feeling better in your own skin.

Talk to someone: The issues we face often feel bigger in our own heads. Speaking to a friend or a family member can be the best thing you can do for yourself. Not only is it an act of self-care, but being honest with others about how you feel will allow you to gain feedback and a reminder that it will all be alright.
As the saying goes: ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.

Adjust your perspective: Yes, the ‘January Blues’ can be difficult and draining, however, it is nothing you can’t handle. While tips to get through this time can often seem cliché, this one hopefully resonates the most. Pushing yourself to remain optimistic may seem tiring, but the fruits of your labour may result in a new found perspective and way less Netflix binging. Although the holiday season’s encouragement of gratefulness and giving is over, the idea still remains: there is so much to be happy about. Don’t let the sluggish end to weeks of eating mince pies and procrastinating on present purchasing get you down — it’s going to be a great year.

The ‘January Blues’ shouldn’t be confused with depression, which is a mental illness and not related to the end of the holiday season. It should be approached as an entirely separate issue.

image: _Alicja_ via pixabay

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