Overcoming the January Blues

Overcoming the January Blues

Get ahead of the blues this winter with ideas for a more balanced, healthy life.


It’s January. The ribbons and bows are all untied and you’re back in the saddle of that thing we call life. It’s the fall from the high of the holidays – and you feel each and every step down to reality this month.

We’re not going to lie and tell you it will be rainbows and butterflies. Because it won’t. If you’re like most of us, you’re chugging along, building back up to full speed: basketball practice, dance classes, piano lessons, painting, PTO and oh, there’s that everyday job thing, too.

Days may seem a little longer, darker and mundane because let’s face it: You’re in the heart of winter. But just because it takes you another half pot of coffee to get up and around in the morning doesn’t mean we can all give up and become complete zombies, right?

Try implementing one or two of these ideas as the thermometer tanks and your mood begins to follow.

Work out – no Pretending
We all tell ourselves that we’ll get to that workout later. And later never seems to get here. Sound familiar? Many of us have the best of intentions to exercise, but when the day goes dark and you’re absolutely beat it’s tough to get your fitness on.

If you can push through, it’s worth it. Getting some more fitness in your life is mood enhancing (and it can help you get time to yourself). Just 30 minutes of walking outside will leave you feeling more refreshed and alive. Make this a new goal, big or small, and start reaping the rewards.

Try Something New
Even if you’ve never been tempted to try hot yoga or rock-climbing, you’ve got plenty of options. You don’t have to be a “risk-taker” to get the benefit of something new. So no need to go all out here.

Ever meditated? Sit quietly for 5 minutes without any noise or distractions. We realize that’s hard. Close your eyes, breathe – that’s definitely a start! It’s that simple. Cut the worries, reflections and projections from your mind.

Start listening to a podcast during your daily work commute. Or read a book this month that you wouldn’t typically pick out. Join a book club. Whatever you choose, enjoy the mental lift from the new experience.

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Prioritize Your Sleep
Maybe you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. Understandable. But just because you aren’t having trouble sleeping, doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily getting enough. The issue may be quantity of sleep, or it may be quality. Make it a point to unwind every night so you don’t toss and turn thinking about the day’s events or tomorrow’s schedule. Easier said than done. But try it.

Disconnect to Reconnect
It used to be that the world more or less shut down when night fell. But now, a 24/7 communication and information system – through our phones, laptops, tablets, etc. – means we’re always connected , always available and many of us are often on high alert.

Modern technology brings stress and exhaustion because we have been freed up to do so much else. Technology helps us complete our tasks quickly, and expectations increase.

The modern world often feels stuck in fast-forward, and we fail to notice the toll it takes on everything from our health to our relationships to the environment. Don’t believe us? Just try it. Unplug at dinner or for one hour every night. See how you feel and how the people around you respond. It can free you up to do other things that you want to do and have set aside.

Beware of Burnout
There are many kinds of work – both in the home and outside of the home – and each one of us is busy with one or both types. We work for many reasons: to pay debts, to survive, for intellectual stimulation and plenty of other reasons. But did you always imagine you’d work this hard?

We will always have deadlines, responsibilities and ambitions, but those of us who are constantly exhausted or rushing through our lives might want to ask ourselves: How much of how we live is by choice? Take control of your work schedule and make sure you have the amount of downtime that you need to regroup, recharge and relax – especially during the darker days of January.

Say no to Say Yes
By keeping your obligations strictly to things you truly need and want to do, you’ll be able to enjoy your free time the way you want to – on your own terms (and your family’s). Saying “no” has never been a better idea. Take charge of this season for you.

What do you do to get through the month? Let us know in the comments below.

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