With the highs of Christmas activity starting earlier and earlier each year, and the fun of the festive season feeling like an ongoing period of celebrations, it is no wonder that January pales in light and mood when we are left feeling the discomfort of overindulgence and deflated merriment.
January comes with the realisation that the magic of Christmas is gone for another year. Presents may still need paying for, and pay day may seem like a long way off. The pinch on finances, and the dark, dreary filter of January’s weather, coupled with imposed expectations of New Year’s resolutions, can weigh heavy on our emotional resources and mental health.
This mindset can often affect our mood and behaviour. It may sometimes feel like a bleak outlook, but it is always one we can challenge and reframe in re-evaluating a different perspective.
Acts of kindness, compassion and gratitude come at no cost and can be rewarding to our mental health and wellbeing. Giving comfort, and loving care to ourselves and others
In reflecting on what may feel right for you in overcoming those January Blues and bringing some light to the season, you may consider the benefit of:
- Practising self-care – make yourself a priority and evaluate your space and needs. What gives you enjoyment and relaxation – how can you schedule it into your day?
- Practice giving to others – random acts of kindness can be potent psychological boosts because they trigger the release of dopamine, the feel-good transmitter.
- Nurture yourself and your surroundings – assess your atmosphere and see how it feels – can you add anything uplifting – sensory illuminations – nice scents, lighting, music, plants. What makes you feel good?
- Fewer daylight hours can leave us feeling drained and lethargic. Making time for being outdoors – however long or short – raising our awareness to what we can see, hear and feel around us can feel energising and stimulating.
- Practising of daily Mindfulness can also be uplifting, and uses our senses to promote awareness of the present moment. Feeling the water on our skin as we shower, savouring the taste of our food when eating, staying in the now and checking with our body and senses, and using our breath to calm and sooth overactive minds and tension.
- Setting good ‘intentions’ rather than ‘resolutions’ alleviates the pressure of expectation. Breaking down tasks into manageable chunks that hold a compassionate response to what went well and what might be done differently.
- Keep a gratitude journal – reflect at the end of the day on three experiences that felt good for you and why. It may be something you achieved or appreciated – a walk with the dog, a meal with friends, yoga…
Make sure you hold yourself and your wellbeing in mind as you recuperate and recharge for the year ahead!!
May it hold the prospect of a happy and healthy one for all. 😊