Beat the January Blues

At this time of year most people have thoughts of planning new goals and changing their previous unhealthy eating habits to healthier ones, thinking about starting a gym or getting into some sort of physical activity, planning on giving up the alcohol and smoking habits etc but by now a lot of the New Year resolutions previously made before the start of the New Year will have already been broken! It’s a fact and it happens every year.

They say January is full of all kinds of emotions, well what month isn’t? The ‘January Blues’ being a main one due to the big build up to the Christmas holidays then once it’s over its back to reality, back to work, waiting for the end of the month wage to pay the bills trying to earn money back for all that was spent over Christmas. Dark nights, dark mornings… all these things can make us feel pretty crap, down and depressed. We allow these things to take over our feelings, yes they are facts, they are happening but it is how we deal with them that makes the difference and has the impact on our feelings.

A problem is a problem regardless but sometimes the problem is escalated by the way we deal with it, we can often make it bigger than it really is by worrying so much about it and by the way we choose to think about it, letting it eat us up inside, letting it take over all the good thoughts and the positive thoughts. All that negativity just drains us and makes us feel even worse than things really are.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way… it’s about changing your thought pattern, changing that mind-set! Get rid of the negative thoughts and change them to positive ones! Yes I know, easier said than done but it isn’t hard to do with a little practice.

When you set yourself a New Year’s resolution or set a new goal the way to make them possible is to make smaller goals first.

There is a saying ‘How do you eat an elephant’, I am glad it is just a saying as I am an animal lover and wouldn’t dream of eating one but the concept behind it is thinking about it being a huge problem, too big to eat in one go so the answer would be ‘one bite at a time’.

So what I am saying is whatever your problem, break it down into smaller easier to manage pieces, if you have a goal break it down into smaller goals making the steps easier to reach your big goal (one step at a time and you will soon get there).

For example if your goal is to run a half marathon in September this year, you will plan to train for it focussing on how many months you have until the actual day.

The easiest and realistic way around this is to break the months down into weeks, set yourself a new goal every two or four weeks, it maybe that you plan to run an extra mile in that time span or cover the miles in a quicker time.

By doing this you won’t give up, you wont set yourself up for failure and you will reach your goal. Rather than focussing on the 13 miles in one lump and trying to run that every other day it is best to break it down into 2 to 4 miles, then 4 to 6 miles and so on until your fitness and stamina has increased giving you more time to plan, train and build up to your final goal, this makes it more achievable.

I’m not just talking about running or half marathons but any goal you may have there are ways of making it realistic and achievable so that you don’t give up! Small steps, small bite size chunks!

Don’t forget to reward yourself in some way each time you reach your short term goal, self- praise is just as good as praise from others, believe in yourself and go for it whatever your goal may be.

Other things to do to get you through if you suffer from the January Blues:

  • Don’t think about feeling down, it just makes you feel worse! Have a mantra (a word or phrase) that you use every time you are aware you are feeling low and keep saying it to help change your mind-set, it really does work with practice.
  • Listen to relaxing or calming music, this helps relax your mind and take your mind off the negative thoughts you may be having.
  • Meditate, just five or ten minutes a day will help you relax and help you feel re-energized, Tai Chi classes are also a good thing to get into if you are feeling stressed or down.
  • Taking vitamin B will give your body a natural boost and also taking Serotonin supplements which has many beneficial consequences on mood and also promoting happiness, relaxation and the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Serotonin is known as the ‘happy neurotransmitter’.
  • Power walking outside is good, a nice walk on the beach, along a country pathway or just walking in the fresh air in general always makes you feel better.
  • Exercise – gym, swimming, fitness classes – great for health benefits as well as socialising.
  • Laughing is also a good way to get rid of your down moods, watch a funny film or laugh with friends; there are also laughter classes which you could attend.

2 Replies to “Beat the January Blues”

  1. lovely blog with good advice, i am 67 years old and going to follow some of that advice, like you say kristopher there’s no time like the present!!! i am starting today.
    Margaret Johnston

    • I definitely agree Margaret, this is a good blog that makes you realise you can change your thoughts and put them into action. I am 59 and need to get into more physical activity, this blog and your comments has made me kick start my day with a power walk and healthier eating.