Beating the January Blues
Acknowledge the Present
January blues happens to the best of us, and it’s natural to feel down in the dumps after a month of parties and festive fun. Acknowledging how you feel in the present and establishing the root cause of what it is that’s making you feel this way is key to tackling the winter blues.
Find some time for yourself away from all distractions — such as your phone, work, and even your partner — get into a relaxing position, close your eyes, and really have a think about your current mindset. Ask yourself what has been triggering your negative thoughts! Are you missing your home country? Are you disheartened that your New Year’s resolutions are not going according to plan? Whatever it might be, make a note if it in your diary or on your phone. Now that you know what has been making you feel this way, you can start looking for a solution.
Take Small Steps
Since you have recognized what is making you feel low, it is now time to find a way to counteract the negativity. This doesn’t have to be something large or lifechanging, but planning ahead, taking small steps, and setting small goals is the best way to improve your mental well-being.
For example, if you’re feeling homesick and are missing your family, why not give them a call to let them know how much they mean to you? Spreading some positivity will undoubtedly make your loved ones feel better, too. If possible, start planning your next visit home — this doesn’t mean fully committing to paying for flights but putting a plan into motion will give you something to look forward to!
Surround Yourself with Nature
Sometimes there is no identifiable issue. Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere might simply feel sad and lethargic due to the shortened sunlight hours and reduced rates of vitamin D. While getting outdoors in the height of winter might be the last thing you want to do, spending some time in the fresh outdoors will do you and your mind a world of good. Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk, around midday, could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. For more ideas on how to get out into the open, check out this expat tip from a friend article.
Just because it is January doesn’t mean you have to be a social recluse. Instead of spending your evening at home perched in front of the TV, go out and catch up with your international friends. If the holiday season was tight on your wallet, you can always invite guests over to your place and arrange a movie night in.
Try Something New
If you have found that your January so far has consisted of the same dull monotonous routine, why not break the habit and get yourself to try something different each day? You could visit an art gallery after work or take a cooking class — it could even be as simple as exploring a new genre of music on your daily commute!
Sometimes the best way to give yourself a pick me up is to just listen to what your body is asking for and indulge yourself. It’s the little pleasures in life that get us through the daily grind. So if you’ve been craving that chocolate bar, or wanting to take a relaxing bath, go for it. If you show yourself a little love, you will cure that January blues in no time!