After a few weeks of excitement, joy, celebrations and consuming my entire body weight in chocolatey goodness on numerous occasions, I’ve hit the January blues. The decorations have been taken down and my house looks dull and bare, I feel sick and lethargic after eating so much and work starts again today for many of us.
Instead of sticking to my usual cycle of wallowing, I have decided to change my outlook this year and create a plan to help me through the next few weeks. These aren’t resolutions – I have just one goal to work towards (that I will discuss at a later date) – but they are small lifestyle changes and ideas that I am slowly going to incorporate into each day in an attempt to beat the blues.
1. Create a list of things to look forward to. I love planning things that make me happy, and I have spent some time this morning writing down all the things that I can look forward to over the next year. I have stuck it on my fridge and whenever I am feeling down it will serve as a reminder that there are lots of positive experiences waiting for me in the future.
2. Be more positive where possible. I have definitely become a ‘glass is half empty’ person over recent years and I intend to make an effort to find at least one positive thing for the day, even when things seem dull and depressing.
3. Do at least the minimum. I often get extremely excited about an idea, throw myself into it wholeheartedly, quickly burn out and lose motivation, so instead of looking at the big picture, I have given myself a set of small tasks and have put them into a weekly timetable. Each task is small and easily achievable, based upon the fact that they take no time and effort at all. I’m adopting the idea that if I can at least do the minimum, the sense of achievement will encourage me to build it up slowly over a period of time rather than overwhelming myself.
4. Smile. I am not particularly good at hiding my true feelings and when this is combined with the fact that I have a naturally resting b*tch face it has been commented upon that I often look miserable. I am determined to plaster a smile on my face, even when I don’t feel like it. I’m hoping that a seemingly positive outlook will encourage a positive response from others – essentially faking it till I make it.
5. Do something good for someone else. Whether it is making a donation to my local charity shop, contributing to a shelter, sending someone a card or inviting a friend round for lunch, I am determined to make this month, and indeed the rest of the year nicer for those around me.
6. Surround yourself with reminders of some of your favourite memories. I bought myself some new photo frames at the end of 2015, so I’m going to enjoy editing pictures from last year’s trip to Barcelona and working out where to put them in the house. I also love the idea of memory boxes, which I saw on Helen’s blog today, so I’m going to create one of my own.
7. Create a set of playlists. Music has always been the driving force behind my life, and indeed, my career, and there isn’t a single day that goes by in which I don’t listen to my favourite tracks. Some carefully crafted playlists to reflect different moods will certainly cheer me up when things are tough.
8. Allow yourself time each day just for you, even if it’s just half-an-hour. Whether it is simply reading a book or taking a hot bubble bath, I am going to try and reward myself a small amount of time to relax and recover from the day.
9. Sleep. Of course, those who have young children will rarely have a choice in the amount of shut-eye they will get, but it’s a well-known fact that a restful sleep will lighten the mood. Go to bed half-an-hour earlier than usual. Don’t get sidetracked by checking your phone or tablet – read a few pages of a book or just concentrate on relaxing the muscles and breathing deeply.
10. Do things that will make each day a little less stressful – prepare meals in bulk in and freeze them so they can be reheated later, pack lunches the night before, make a note of friends and family who have birthdays over the month, write, address and stamp cards in advance… It’s the little things that will allow more time for yourself in the long run.
11. Make small changes to your diet. A balanced diet will result in more energy, and this is something that I am working on at the minute. It’s more of a case of moderation than cutting things out completely.
12. Spend time with your favourite people. I’m meeting some of my friends tomorrow night for our half-termly catch-up, and I’m very much looking forward to it!
What about you guys? Are you experiencing the January blues? What are you doing to get yourself out of it?
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The blues, from where I stand, appear to be a natural reaction to overdoing the Christmas festivities the previous month. Just look at all the arts organizations that have their biggest, most popular productions along the holiday lines — the Nutcracker sustaining the typical ballet company, for instance — and you can see how people are dashing about, even before the shopping and partying.
We’ve found that observing Advent — and for us, that includes a ban on alcohol — and following that with the 12 Days of Christmas, when we schedule the arts and parties, eases nicely into a more restful January. Now we settle in with the books we received at Christmas, along with any clothing or cookware. You get the picture.
Your list, by the way, is marvelous. I’m glad you included sleep. These long nights are perfect for that. Candles or a fireplace are another bonus.
Thank you! I think that’s a really fantastic way to spend the time – calm and quiet.
By the way, we usually keep the tree up and decorated through Groundhog Day. Just one more seasonal touch …
I agree with all of this. With the holidays over and having to go back to work, we can hit a slump. We just need to remind ourselves that the holidays will come again.
Absolutely – we always need something to look forward to!
Sounds like you’ve got this nailed! ❤
Thanks Annette… I hope so at least haha!
Great list, and much needed advice. I noticed the blues creeping in yesterday and am trying to overcome them myself. One thing that helps me is making sure I have something in my diary to look forward to, even if it’s a few months away I find it helps give me focus. So now is the time I’m doing things like planning what conventions I want to go to this year and arranging the odd weekend away to visit non-local friends. It always lifts my mood to have things to plan and anticipate.
That’s a really good idea! What conventions are you looking at?
Showmasters (who do London Film & comic con etc) are coming to Exeter this year so that one, also Optimus in Bristol and – the big one for me as a Transfomers fangirl – TFNation in Birmingham in August. It helps so much to have stuff to look forward to.
Great list, Suzie!
I like this list of non-resolutions. My most recent post echoes some of your sentiments. I am choosing to remain goalless to allow myself to focus on health & happiness. Sleep, as you noted, is crucial to both. As a fellow RBFer I will join you in the smile challenge… 🙂 Cheers to a Happy 2016! Karen
We should start a club… the RBFers! Happy New Year!
And I thought I was the only one with January blues! (Btw, did you make that image? It looks amazing!)
I created the image on Canva – it’s a brilliant tool for design! The drawing isn’t mine though…
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A great list! I don’t get the January blues per se, I just deal with depression on an ongoing basis. And some of what you have in your list applies to the things I’m working on as well.
Thanks Deborah! I have my dealings with the Black Dog too, and it’s tough at times… Here’s to a year of stability and good mental health!
I’ll second that! I’ll be in touch 🙂
This is a great list – number eight is going to be a big one for me this year. If I can’t find twenty minutes out of the day for myself, then I’m doing something wrong. More reading time is a must, too – I’m thinking of setting up a Goodreads Challenge for myself, so I have reading goals to work towards 🙂
I need to do that too – I used to devour books but since the blog all I read is posts!
Yes, that was happening to me as well, and I really do need to read books too. A new bedside lamp has made the idea of reading in bed more appealing, so I think that’s what I’m going to do 🙂
Oh, and thanks for the shout out! I’m glad you enjoyed my memory box – it was a really lovely thing to find.
I though it was fabulous! Hope you met lots of lovely new people!
I did, thank you! Had a huge day, my best day ever – I’m still catching up on it all 🙂
Suzie, here’s something you may want to try next Christmas. Leave your tree up for the entire month of January, if it’s not a real tree. Last year, my roommate and I left ours up until Valentine’s Day. It takes the edge off the stark, cold winter and gives us something pretty to look at. We keep our patio lights going as well. You can take down your other decorations and even the ornaments off the tree, but the pretty lights do a world of good for the psyche.
That’s a nice idea. I’d probably get a bit annoyed with the tree being up but you’ve inspired me to get some lights to put over the fireplace!
I have a naturally resting frown face, not fun. You have a much prettier face 😁 did you just smile? 😄
Aww thanks John!
Some really great advice, Suzie. I can feel the January Blues beginning to hit, so I’ll bear these points in mind. Thanks. I hope you had a fab Christmas and… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I’m off to make a playlist 🙂
Thanks Amanda! Great to see you back – sorry your Christmas wasn’t what you expected!
It’s great to be back. I missed the blogging world 😭
And that’s okay. There’s always next year.
Looking forward to your epic posts!
And likewise! I’ve got lots of catching up to do.
I haven’t experienced the January blues yet because I always distrack myself but I do have the January’s sleepiness! I have been getting a full nights rest and taking naps. I hope that’s good for you because I just can’t help it!
Ooh I love a good nap… there’s nothing better!
I always get January blues but I think this year is going to be worse after such a good year last year. I’ve decided I’m going to throw myself more into blogging so it’s not all about going to work, crap weather and paying off my credit card bill!
I love the fact that blogging is a fantastic form of therapy! Hope the blues aren’t too bad!
I had forgotten about creating a January playlist…great suggestion!
Thanks – music tends to be a daily part of life so i use it to boost my moods…
I’ve not really set anything up but I know I need to eat more healthy and smoke and drink less 😦 so I think I will develop my own diet and call it the SCARF diet – soup, cereal and regular fruit :). I think I’m away to purchase a fruit ninja too!
I’ve got an image of a banana in a ninja outfit now…
Love all of these, Suzie; I definitely have to force myself to do number 3 at this time of year, but doing at least the minimum does make a difference. And as a fellow naturally resting b*tch face sufferer, I can relate to number 4 😀
Haha! Thanks – do you ever get people walking past and telling you to ‘cheer up?’
I plan on doing little random acts of kindness for people 🙂 x
That’s really nice – if everyone did that more often then the world would be a much better place! Happy New Year!
Believe it or not, I actually like January. That is when the rains come for us here in California. Everything looks fresh and clean after all the grime of the dusty, hot summer have been washed away. I like January because we are closing in on Spring (usually around March for us) and the days are now getting longer.
I too have kind of a grumpy resting face (must be the English in me) and have to smile a lot to make people believe I am not angry with the world. I think having things to look forward to is so important, that is a really good thought, because the planning part of it is always so exciting!!! Great list!!!! Wash those January blues away!!!!!!!!!
I think that’s a really good way of looking at it! We’ve had constant rain here for quite a while now and flooding is a major issue, so I’m thinking that a lot of people are looking forward to a bit of sun! Happy New Year!
Same to you!!!!! Hope the sun shines brilliantly so everything can dry up!!!!
Thank you! Is there such a thing as a sun dance?
Turns out there is such a thing as a Sun Dance.
Here you go.
Awesome! I’ll send The Bloke outside to do one now!
Cool, can you catch that on your phone, please!!!
I went through the Christmas Holiday blues, so i know what you mean. It’s funny how our goals for this year are similar! Good Luck and Happy New Year
Thanks – sorry you’ve been feeling a bit low. Hope 2016 is a good one for you!
Oh yeah. Hahah, the turn of the date almost seems like fortunes turned too. I’ve been well. Thanks for asking. Hope you are having a great year too 🙂
Great ideas thanks Suzie
I think these are all great tips, thank you.
Great list Suzie. I particularly like ‘Do at least the minimum… I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my list of things I should-do-must-do so I think I’m going to follow your lead on this one. Helpful… I feel better already 🙂
Thanks my lovely – I get overwhelmed too but as long as I’ve done something then it’s not a completely wasted day…
Great tips for the new year. I like #4 because I have a sour-puss looking face when I’m not smiling too. I have to make an effort to turn the corners of my mouth up, just a tiny bit, so I don’t look like I’m frowning when I’m not smiling. It’s exhausting. Happy New Year!
I can imagine! I think you should relax and let people accept your face as it is – embrace the angry look haha! Although, i bet it’s not half as bad as you think!
Ha! #4…is that what it’s called? People are always asking me who I’m mad at. Now I get it! Great post, as always.
Thanks my lovely! really pleased you enjoyed it!
I can feel your blues from down here Suzie but you look like you have it covered with your lists and plans. I love making lists too – mainly so that I can cross things out! I have the opposite problem in January as it’s high summer and there is so much freedom and sunshine and so many things to do outside. I hate going back to work too early because it interrupts my free flowing days too much. Stay positive and stick to the plan! Good luck 🙂
Thanks Debbie! Luckily I had an extra day to get myself organised haha! Happy New Year!
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Great list Suzie. For like the first year ever, I am actually not facing the blues. I usually do every year, but I am trying to be more positive this year. I haven’t set resolutions – because I break them. I’ve set goals instead for the year, and I think the slight wording change is helping, but more than that, they are things I REALLY want to do, so I think they will be easier to stay motivated for. But more than anything I am just trying to keep looking at that glass and realise its half full!! Lovely post.
Thank you – i definitely think you’ve got the best idea here. I read your post and thought it was great!
Aww thank you Suzie – 😀
Eat more cake? At least bake more…
Anything you want to bake I’m willing to try!
Ooo that’s excellent!
I agree with all of the above! I could add – making delicious healthy meals with lots of fruit and veg and – going for a ride (in my case, horses equal therapy!)
Ooh horses… I used to love horse riding!
Awesome. 😀 “Instead of sticking to my usual cycle of wallowing…” I like that. I need this right now, too. #2 and #9 are going to be tough for me but sound advice. Thanks. Here’s to 2016!
Thanks Sarah! What’s the plan for this year?
Um…well I’ve got a bit of a writer’s identity crisis going on so I’m trying to make a clean break. Let’s see how that works out for me. Okay, maybe it’s not a great plan but I’m a blank page–waiting to see what this year brings me. 🙂
I love this list and I will take a few, if not all of them, and create my own personal list. I do thank you for this wonderful advice! Happy New Year!
#7 is so much fun! I’m always thinking of music and songs; sometimes I think there’s a radio station playing in my head. When a string of songs that I listen to sounds good together, I make a playlist out of it. It’s fun times. I also want to put #11 into practice. It’s hard with my job being like it is, but I still want to do my best. My skirt continuing to fit depends on it.
Happy New Year to you! 😀
Absolutely wonderful list. Hope you don’t mind if I adopt just about all of it. Thanks in advance, Suzie.
Aww thanks Sharon, what a lovely thing to say!
I really like those tips! I was in a funk and crappy mood just last week, right after Christmas was over, and now that I’m back at work, I have been trying really hard to get in the groove again. Will try your suggestions 🙂
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Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
It’s Blue Monday, so I thought I’d reblog this from last year…
Love this article! It’s like you wrote out exactly what’s been bouncing around in my head. I have been doing a few of the suggestions (and will also be incorporating a few others). I recently also started writing down my small wins/accomplishments for the month of January. Something I can look at when I’m feeling “down” to see that I have gotten more done than I thought I did. I’m visual that way, the longer the list of things DONE the more motivated I am to do more. I could see how that might work in reverse for some people though. HA!
Thank you! I’m totally with you – it’s so great to be reminded of accomplishments – that way you can keep going and do more!