January and February don’t often rank highly on people’s favourite months.
And it’s understandable – the anticipation and mayhem of the Christmas build up is now over, the sparkly lights are down, the last mince pie has been eaten, it’s back to work and school, the house is looking a bit bare, and you’re left simultaneously feeling a bit bloated and deflated. Words such as ‘diet’ and ‘detox’ might be floating around, filling you with dread, the rain never seems to stop, and you wonder if you’ll ever see the sunshine again.
But don’t despair – there are a few ways, you can try and not only make these first couple of months more bearable, but actually quite enjoyable!
1. Make a vision board – the beginning of the year is a great time to either create a
fresh new vision board or update an existing one. I am a very visual person, which is why I lose hours scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram – I just love pretty pictures! A vision board is a way of bringing your goals, wishes and aspirations into the physical world in the form of images (and words if you want to add those too). Seeing your vision not just in your mind, or written in words on paper, but as beautiful pictures, with colour and feeling, is truly inspirational. Not only that but having it somewhere you can see it every day, keeps your vision fresh in your mind, and helps to keep you on track towards your goals. Vision boards can be a physical board, using pictures cut from magazines, printed out or even drew yourself; pictures could also be stuck in a scrapbook or journal. Alternatively, vision boards can be digital – create a board on Pinterest (you can make it private so only you can see it), Canva, or download some pictures into a word document. Whichever form of vision board you choose (or just have all of them like me!), make sure it is true to you and your vision, and don’t hold back! Let your heart lead and your imagination run wild!
2. Set some goals – I know, goals, or resolutions, can feel a bit ominous. I would say if the thought of setting goals feels like too much, skip this step! But remember: these are your goals, don’t make them for anyone else! The nature of your goals can be your choice– work, health, emotional wellbeing, travel, financial – and as simple as you like. Make the goals realistic and achievable, and don’t forget small steps are better than none at all.
3. Get some fresh air – it is difficult to drag yourself out of the warmth of your living
room when it is cold and grey outside. The hours of daylight during January and February are super limited, but just 10-15 minutes a day of daylight can help to control the body’s circadian rhythms, which can affect your sleep, digestion, and energy levels, as well as boost levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
4. Enhance your habitat – Post Christmas, I feel like there are two types of people – those who can’t wait to take down the Christmas decorations and those who dread it. I used to be the latter, but the last couple of years I’ve made peace with it and welcome the feeling of space once the tree is gone! I use this time as an opportunity to have a little clean, sort out, rearrange furniture, decorate, and update home accessories. And of course, if you do hate taking down the decs, then by all means leave them up till the end of Feb if it makes you happy! Or as a compromise, dot some candles and twinkly lights around your home to still add a bit of festive warmth.
5. Embrace ‘wintering’ – if you are feeling particularly blue during these early months, and that any of these tips would be just too much effort, then please don’t put pressure on yourself. January is renowned for being the month when the latest diet adverts are everywhere, everyone seems to be running back to the gym, and there’s lots of talk of ‘New Year, New Me’ and ‘smashing goals’. But if you feel that all you want to do is hibernate on the sofa eating a packet of Jammie Dodgers (I highly recommend doing this at some point by the way), then be kind and gentle to yourself, and don’t feel guilty. If you are struggling too much, reach out to someone, and get help if you need it.
It makes me think of this quote by Donna Ashworth:
“You may think yourself lazy, or flawed. Yet your body is made of almost exactly the same elements as the stars. Your bone composition matches the coral in the seas and you, my friend, are ruled by the moon and the sun. Whether you like it or not. So no, you are not lazy, Nature is simply pulling you to slow, like the life, floral and fauna around you. It is not your moment to rise. It is winter, you are wintering. And you are right on time.”
Is your body responding to nature, and telling you to ‘winter’? If so, listen and respect it! There is no harm or shame in this.
And if all else fails, just remember, January and February will be over in no time, and we’ll all be leaping into Spring with renewed vigour before we know it!
Do you have other ways of surviving the start of the year?
I would love to hear.