It’s easy to let ‘January Blues’ get to you. A show of hands if you (or indeed if you’ve heard others – friends, colleagues, family) entertain thoughts such as:
“January is so dark and cold”,
“It’s the longest month ever; Spring will never come!”,
“I really can’t face going back to work”,
“I’m spent – physically, mentally and literally from Christmas”,
“I’ve eaten and drunk too much, I feel fat and lethargic”,
“I’ll never be able to lose all this weight again”
“I’m just hopeless at sticking to any new year’s resolutions – I always fail, what’s the point”.
These thoughts, and that’s just what they are, thoughts, can really limit us in achieving what we want to do…. if we let them.
Personally, I feel lowest in energy and mood in November when the light and the earth energy draw in. And January, for me, is the time of new beginnings. Even though the days are still short and the nights long, the Winter Solstice (21st December), celebrates the return of the light and stepping towards spring. There’s a fresh, new energy to tap into, to draw strength from.
It’s all in the mind.
This January, try to seize this new energy and use it to recalibrate. If you’re entertaining negative thoughts, check yourself. Thoughts are only thoughts and they are not necessarily true. We don’t’ have to believe them or be drawn further into them.
Pause. Become aware of any habitual thoughts, examine them, discover that they are not facts, let them go, and begin to entertain more helpful, encouraging and inspiring thoughts.
Here are some tips that can make January pleasant and enjoyable for you:
- Think of January as a new beginning – it will lift your spirit and energy levels; it will also help broaden your perspective on the year and plans ahead.
- Think of January as the turning point that moves us towards spring again – although the land and the trees still look bare, remember that there is already lots going on in the earth in preparation of new life to come.
- Think of January as the ideal month to review the last year and to set intentions for the new year. Make some time to reflect – settle down with a notebook and a cup of tea. The practice is most enjoyable and inspiring. I’ve just done it. You can use this tool to help you (http://greenspacecoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Review-your-year.pdf).
- If you’re feeling broke after the expense of Christmas, be creative; there are many things we can do which do not involve spending loads..:
- invite a friend around for a coffee;
- try out a new recipe and invite a few friends or organise a pot luck and ask everyone to bring a dish – shared lunches or dinners are most enjoyable;
- explore your local area and go for a walk – you don’t always need to go far to relax and restore;
- read, make things, go to a gallery or museum – there are many events that are free of charge.
- Notice the good things, the beautiful, the small things you enjoy and appreciate. They are always there even when we are locked up in January Blues. To make this even more powerful, write down 5-10 things that you have liked and appreciated in your day. This practice strengthens the part in our brain that can see and absorb the good and this in turn strengthens our mental resilience and lifts our mood. Letting in the good/ seeing the pleasant things is different from gratitude for the things we have which you could add to your reflection.
- Use January as an ideal month to start exercising again at a pace that suits you and that you can sustain. It’s important to take some time to check that you can see and feel yourself doing it. Yoga, running, swimming, Pilates, walking to work. Think about how often you want to do it, how long for and how the exercise fits into your day and week. It’s easy to plan things in our head, but our day-to-day life is often quite different. Start small. Remember: Doing exercise once a week is much more than not doing any at all. A friend has just downloaded the NHS choices ‘From couch to 5K app’. https://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx.
- And do check out my new coaching programs that I am launching this month because January, for me, is the ideal month to start something new.
Karen Liebenguth is a qualified life coach and MBTI facilitator. She specialises in 1:1 coaching whilewalking in Victoria park, East London. She believes that insight, change and creativity can happen most naturally when outdoors in a beautiful and open green space. Karen is also an accredited and associate mindfulness teacher with Breathworks UK. She offers mindfulness for stress and pain management courses, 1:1 mindfulness training and tailored mindfulness programs for the workplace. For more information on Karen’s work, please visit her website: