How to Beat the January Blues

January bluesAfter 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?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page, my Pinterest page and my Instagram page

92 thoughts on “How to Beat the January Blues

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

      • 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.

  4. 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… πŸ™‚ Cheers to a Happy 2016! Karen

  5. And I thought I was the only one with January blues! (Btw, did you make that image? It looks amazing!)

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  7. 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.

  8. 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 πŸ™‚

  9. 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.

  10. 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 πŸ™‚

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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 πŸ˜€

  15. 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!!!!!!!!!

  16. 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 πŸ™‚

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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 πŸ™‚

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  21. 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.

  22. 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!)

  23. Awesome. πŸ˜€ “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!

  24. #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! πŸ˜€

  25. 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 πŸ™‚

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  27. 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!

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