Does anyone else think January sucks? Apparently a good few of you do! When I put this question to my Facebook group, many of the ladies, like me, find the months of January and February rather tough.
With the post Christmas and New Year come down, cold and often grey rainy days and summer feeling forever away, it’s a time of year I can struggle with – my mood is definitely affected and I just feel kind of flat and ‘meh’. When winter weather hits and the days are short in December, the sparkle of Christmas lifts the mood but when that’s over it there’s nothing to do the same thing in January and February.
Next Monday (15th January) is officially ‘Blue Monday’ the most depressing day of the year. While I think it’s important not to get pulled into something that’s used to give newspapers something to write about, it does just highlight the general crappy way many of us can feel in January and often into February too.
But how can we turn it all around and make January and February – the remainder of winter, something we really enjoy?
I’ve decided I want to make this January and February awesome, here’s a few tips!
Plan in some things to look forward to
I’ve bought tickets to a gig at the end of January and we’re planning a swift trip to London in February for James’ 40th birthday. I’m running a yoga retreat with my friend Jo this coming weekend, which although is technically ‘work’ will probably be very enjoyable and relaxing for me too! Just taking some time to plan in a few fun things has given me something to get excited about.
Try thinking about what you enjoy and plan something in – it could be a trip to the cinema, a mini break, a night out etc
Look for January special offers to enjoy
This time of year can be very quiet in shops and restaurants so look out for special offers trying to entice people back. Newcastle has Newcastle Restaurant Week where you can dine out for £15 and a friend of mine found a spa day for £50 on Groupon.
Join a community or class
Doing something as part of a community can be a lovely way to add some connection into your month alongside some kind of theme. For example David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones has started a Twitter Book Club reading some of Bowies top 100 books. If online isn’t your thing maybe look out for craft classes or events local to you – it’s always good to meet new people and learn new skills.
Set yourself a fun challenge
This could be reading (or re reading) a book or a number of books, listening to new albums (like setting yourself a challenge to listen to your favourite artists back catalogue on Spotify), cooking a new recipe every week, or it could be joining in a challenge like the wonderful Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 Day challenge.
Remember, you can start now, just because you haven’t started right at the start of the year doesn’t make any of these ideas any less valid!
Obviously Hygge was designed to make this time of year more bearable! Fairy lights and candles should be standard at this time of year – add a hot chocolate and a pile of DVD’s you’d like to get through and you’re set!
As much as you probably don’t want to, getting outside is rarely a bad idea. Just going for a walk can brighten your mood. I’m hoping to get to the coast sometime this month, I think it’s especially beautiful at this time of year in the North East.
Write a list of all the fun things you’d like to do over January and February. Remember the temptation at this time of year is to go all ‘New Year, New You’ B*S – which at the least doesn’t flow with the energy of the season. Think of things that are really enjoyable and that will set you up for the rest of the year. Write that list, stick it somewhere you can see it and enjoy!
My list includes:
- Overhauling my wardrobe and creating some new outfit ideas as inspired by this book – plus making more effort to dress nice!
- Reading the pile of un read books on my bedside table
- Going to the coast
- Going to see The Weather Station at the end of the month
- London in February for James Birthday
- Arranging things do to with my friends
- Making a start on a few house decor projects
On a more serious note, sometimes writing a list of lovely things just isn’t enough. If you feel like your mental health isn’t where it should be, get support. Check out The Blurt Foundation and Mind for support, resources and signposting.
How do you feel about this time of year? Do you find it tough or do you love it? What have you done to make it more enjoyable?
Oh my gosh, I have tuned into your blog sporadically over the past few years (I seriously read none consistently!), and it was a refreshing delight to catchup with yours today. Can you believe we’ve been at this blogging work for nearly a decade? Ha ha ha! Happy New Year, Laura. Glad to see you here. I hope that your Blue Monday is a sparkly blue. :)
Hi Nicole, this message is the most lovely blast from the past! I hope you and Gwendolyn are very well – and having just finished a yoga retreat over the weekend my Blue Monday is indeed sparkly :-)
ha ha ha!! your reply just made my day. :)
Love this list. I used to really struggle with January and February when I lived in the UK and found these months the hardest in terms of my mood and energy levels. I definitely need to start reading the un-read books on my bedside table, they are starting to gather dust! x
I have a ridiculously large pile! Hope you enjoy them!
This is such an great and important post. After living in Sydney for 3 years and missing 3 UK Winters, I have definitely felt the effects stronger than I used to this Winter back in the UK. I have struggled with my mood and energy levels… I have found getting out in the fresh air as much as possible really helps and also planning fun social dates with friends :) Also as weird as it sounds… I am trying to see it as a good way to practice tolerating discomfort! Love that you added the mental health links at the end too – so important as these season can be triggering for so many people!
I think that makes total sense, there’s something about facing up to that discomfort that helps grow your emotional resilience :-)
Great blog post Laura. I feel the same at this time of year now the anticipation of Christmas has gone. Will definitely put some of these tips to use! xx
Glad you found these helpful Emma!
Some great ideas here, thanks. I really like the tip about looking forward to things too- after a busy Christmas the months ahead can feel quite empty otherwise.
Thanks Maria, yep it really does make a difference having something planned to look forward to :-)
Really great to read your tips for January and February, also very inspiring! I’m from the NE originally, although live in Yorkshire now and I love the similarities I feel I share with you, particularly hygge and visits to the seaside, even if my mum does insist on going to seaton carew! Thank you keep up the good work!