9 Ways to Beat the January Blues

January is always a bit of a mixed month. On the one hand, it’s exciting going into a New Year, writing your resolutions for the months ahead, and counting the days down to summer. On the other hand, Christmas is out of the way, the cold weather remains, and the chances are you’ll be waking up to darkness every morning before work.

If your attitude towards January is leaning towards the latter, I’ve got you covered with some of the things I do to get through the month with a smile on my face.

1) Make achievable resolutions…and stick to them

The Dogs Trust charity has a great saying: “A dog isn’t just for Christmas” and I’d make the same argument about New Year’s resolutions…they’re not just for January!

I think that where people go wrong with New Year’s resolutions is that they try and make changes to themselves and their lives that are too drastic. Let’s say that you want to get to a healthier weight. Instead of planning to go to the gym every single day and cutting out everything remotely unhealthy from your diet (what fun is that?), make a smaller and more manageable change. Like deciding to walk more or cooking healthier meals at home.

My New Year’s resolutions this year are largely based on things I want to improve about my mindset. Like overthinking and worrying less, saying “Yes” to things more, and being less scared about the future. They’re things I plan to work on throughout the year, not just in January. Approaching resolutions in this way, I think, takes the pressure off yourself during January. Instead of drastic changes that you end up dropping within the month, you can have the satisfaction of taking small steps towards your goals throughout the year.

2) Get a sunrise alarm clock

You don’t know what a sunrise alarm clock is? You’re missing out! A sunrise alarm clock is designed to mimic the morning sunrise and wake you up more naturally than the incessant beeping of a regular alarm. You simply set the time you want to wake up and the light gradually gets brighter until it looks like daylight in your room. It’s definitely a big improvement to waking up in the dark every morning!

3) Hygge

If you’re read some of my previous blog posts, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of ‘Hygge’, the Danish concept referring to the special, slow, authentic, cozy moments in life. An easy way to infuse your January with more hygge moments is to light lots of candles the moment you get home.

My dad’s partner has more candles in her home than anyone I know and it’s no coincidence that her house is more cozy that anyone I know! The moment you walk in the front door you can’t help but love January that bit more once you’re surrounded by the soft glowing light…very hygge!

4) Cozy up

One of the worst things about January has to be the cold, wet, drizzly weather. An easy solution is to make sure that you’re always nice and cozy. I love wrapping up in big jumpers, a thick coat, a wooly hat, soft scarf, and warm gloves whenever I’m out of the house. And when I’m at home I love getting into a warm pair of pyjamas and snuggling up in bed with a hot water bottle. January isn’t half as bad if you’re always warm and cozy.

5) Get hosting

Christmas is over and maybe your social calendar has suddenly emptied now that the extended family has gone home, you’re back to work and everyone’s got their head down through the cold, dark, wintry months.

I find that a great way to continue the wonderful togetherness feeling of Christmas into January is to make an effort to have people over to your house for drinks, dinners, games nights…whatever you’re in the mood for. Just last night my boyfriend and I had a friend from home over for dinner and it was lovely. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal together and it felt like Christmas all over again.

6) Book a trip

My boyfriend and I have just booked a holiday to the Philippines in February and it’s given us lots to look forward to in the not to distant future. Knowing that we’ll be somewhere warm and exotic makes cold, grey January a lot easier to tolerate.

I don’t think you even have to go as far as to book an expensive trip abroad though. My dad and his partner often go on little trips throughout the year and I think they find it just as effective in breaking up the monotony of work and offering a pleasant distraction to the dark evenings and cold weather.

7) Go for wintry walks

In winter I prefer to embrace what the season has to offer rather than fighting against it or complaining all the time. There’s something so special about going for a crisp wintry walk on a sunny day in January that’s hard to beat! I wrap up in all my layers, brave the cold, and look forward to a hot mug of tea and some candles once I’m home.

8) Put your health first

Christmas, with all its glorious gluttony has passed and now it’s the New Year and the perfect time to focus on living the healthiest life you can. A healthy diet, vitamin D supplements (to make up for the lack of sun), some exercise, and a good night’s sleep all help me to feel vibrant and energised throughout the winter and into summer.

Make it your resolution this year to put yourself first and look after yourself. Choose foods that make you feel wonderful and get moving in whatever ways suit you and you’ll feel great this January.

9) Install a wood burner

A last addition to the list (at my dad’s recommendation) is to get yourself a wood burner. In my family home in Devon, our wood burner is very much the heart of the home. Throughout winter we have a hearty fire burning and it does so much to make you feel warm and cozy and hygge. Unfortunately for us in Hong Kong, a wood burner is a distant dream and something I plan to invest in in the future.

– Tiger Lily –

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