It’s that time of year again.
It’s day after day of grey skies and freezing temperatures. In fact, the only time I really see the sun is at the tail end of my commute in the morning or just as I’m leaving the office at night. Even then, the clouds are winning the sky game and sun is more of just dreary light than it is a shining bright ball of joy. It’s getting better bit by bit and every day there are a few more minutes of sun but we’re at the time of year when putting a positive spin on everything isn’t so easy.
Today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. But I tend to think of this time period as simply: The January Suck. It’s deceiving to say it lasts for a day, when it can feel like a long, dull road with no end in sight.
However, in the spirit of trying to wrestle out of any sort of winter funk, here are five tips for making January a little less sucky:
1. Plan something exciting.
It could be weeks, months or even years away. But start planning something that gives you the good kind of goosebumps. Think of it as creating a go-to happy place for when you step in a huge slush puddle or the car door is frozen shut. Best of all, if you start squirrelling away coffee money here and there now, the anticipation will only build.
2. Give yourself a break.
The beginning of January has a great vibe to it. New year, new feelings, new goals. Annnnnd then mid-January comes. Life has happened. We’ve lost that refreshing vibe and now we’re just left with the holiday weight gain and guilt of not delivering on our too-ambitious goals (just me?). So go easy on yourself. Baby steps still count as progress and it’s never to late to pick it up again. Let go of what you haven’t done and set a new goal that you feel is in tune with where you’re at now.
3. Embrace the hibernation staycation.
Think of it as an exercise in self-care. Or family care. Pick a day on the calendar and write it down. There are no plans to be made on this day. It’s time for Operation Hibernation Staycation. If possible, try to do this once alone (oh happy day!). Being able to binge Netflix all day, ignore the laundry and not cook guilt-free can do WONDERS for your level of joy. The only rules are NO WORK, NO CHORES, and NO SOCIAL MEDIA (okay, maybe one pic of your #hibernationstaycation but then that’s it! Seriously, it’s not a staycation with social media scrolling).
4. Walk it out.
I know, I know. If you’re living in a climate like we are, it’s SO freaking cold out. I generally plead with my dogs to pee as fast as possible when I do have to go outside. But here’s the thing, that burst of cold air and that little bit of sunlight really does make you feel refreshed. So bundle up in your warmest unfashionable clothes and go for a quick little walk. The length isn’t what is important. You’ll feel re-energized and coming in the warm indoors will feel extra cozy.
5. Change something up.
When I was young, once in a while my mom would move the furniture around in my room. It was so fascinating to me that by simply moving things around, a room could feel totally new. So if you’re in a funk, make a change. It could be as big as painting a room or hanging some pictures, but my favourite is to just move things around a bit. See what your bed looks like against a different wall, move a side table, adjust your desk at work. It’s a small thing, but it can give you a rush of rejuvenation. It feels good to see things from a different perspective.
There’s no way around it: January tends to feel boring, drab and draining. The holidays are over and our overly ambitious resolutions are often sinking. But there are ways to make it a bit more bearable and little less sucky.
And there’s always wine.