With freezing cold temperatures, back-to-work blues, and post-Christmas money woes, it’s no surprise that January is considered by many to be the worst month of the year. This year especially, with the residual stress from the Covid-19 pandemic alongside the pressure to make 2022 ‘the best yet’, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.
To combat those low moments that may crop up in the weeks to come, we’ve compiled six great ways to beat the January blues and keep you motivated right through til February!
The UK charity Mind states that loneliness is a contributing factor to worsening mental health. It’s an obvious one, but the best way to avoid loneliness is to spend some quality time with your favourite people. After the madness of Christmas and New Year, it’s easy to let time pass by without checking in with your friends and family, so use your spare time in January to get in touch and organise a chilled-out day together. For a restful evening of catching up, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your friends to host an amazing dinner party – just veg out on the sofa with some TV, Chinese takeaway, and a bottle of wine!
If you’re not in the mood for full-on socialising, just ensure you’re chatting to loved ones frequently. Even if it’s just a phone call or text every day to chat about the weather, you’ll notice how much better human interaction can make you feel. Plus, January can be a rough time for everyone – use this time to ask the people you care about if they’re doing okay, and if there’s anything you can do to help them through a tough month.
Okay, this might be easier said than done, but keeping physically healthy is a surefire way to improve your mental wellbeing. You don’t need to get training for a 5k; just a short walk every day to get some air and clear your head will be so beneficial. If you’re working from home, your world might start to feel a little smaller than it used to. A break from your computer will help break up your day and improve your outlook, so get your winter coat on and venture out, even if it’s just for a 15-minute stroll!
January is notoriously the month of low funds for everyone across the country. Many people are paid early in December, meaning that paycheck has to last way longer than normal. Plus, the expense of Christmas festivities can hang over your wallet well into the new year. It’s tempting to just ignore your bank statements and crawl through til the next paycheck, but the stress won’t go away that easy.
If you’re concerned about money running low after Christmas, tackle your fear head-on and sit down with a pen and paper to work through your spending. You don’t need to draw up an entire annual budget; just work out how much you’ll be able to spend throughout the month to get to your next paycheck. Allocate money for all the important stuff, like rent, bills, and food, then see how much you have left to enjoy yourself. That cheeky takeaway will feel so much more satisfying when you know that you can definitely afford it this month!
After all the fun and revelry of Christmas and the New Year, life can feel a little grey during January. Maybe you’re left feeling uncreative, uninspired, or just plain bored. So inject a little passion and creativity into your routine by finding a new hobby, or rediscovering an old one. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up a sport – well, now is a perfect time.
But, if the idea of taking up kayaking is a bit too overwhelming, you can find smaller and more manageable ways to bring something new into your routine. Maybe there is a show on Netflix you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t got round to? Rather than sticking on Friends for the 400th time, maybe just give it a watch and broaden your TV horizons a little! It might seem like nothing, but something new, even just a TV show you haven’t seen before, can reinvigorate you and bring something new into your day.
One of the most damaging stresses in our daily lives is the excessive amount of time we spend on our phones browsing through social media. Apparently, high mobile usage can be linked to increased rates of anxiety and depression. If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or TikTok accounts of people who seem to have it so much better than you, maybe it’s time to realise how it might be affecting your mental state. While it’s fun to see the new Range Rover that the most recent Love Island winner is driving around Mayfair in, it can sometimes cloud our vision and impact our perception of happiness and prosperity.
Comparison is the thief of joy, so they say, and while it’s easy to make everything look great in a few photos, nobody’s life is truly perfect. To end this cycle of comparison, make sure you’re taking regular breaks from social media. Even better, perhaps try cleansing your social media feeds of influencers or models whose posts are making you feel rubbish about yourself, and instead follow some body-positivity icons who can teach you more about loving yourself just the way you are!
January is the best time for a proper clear-out of your space. You don’t need to renovate your entire house – even something as simple as clearing out your wardrobe will make you feel so much better. If you feel up to it, you can even pop some clothes on Depop or Vinted to make a few extra pounds while freeing up space. That’s a win-win!