January can feel like a difficult month for a lot of people. There’s the crash landing from the joy and excitement of Christmas, plus long dark evenings and mornings and the pressure of resolutions and challenges. For many, the first month of the year can seem as dark as the night and this feeling lasts long into the new year. You have no energy, every moment feels like too much effort and there’s light at the end of the tunnel seems very far away. I am no exception to this kind of slump, especially this year as we approach the first anniversary of my dad passing away.
But I’ve been trying to get on the front foot with it, knowing that these weeks will be a challenge and taking positive steps to lighten my days. We all know that diet and exercise are good for us, but there are many people far more knowledgeable on that than me.
Here’s what has been working for me on a mindset front:
Taking my time
New Year is the traditional time for making resolutions in all areas of life, whether it be embarking on a diet or taking up a new hobby. But its really not an issue to have not achieved your resolutions yet or even to have not made any. Your normal life changes massively at Christmas, with a myriad of grottos, parties, late nights and over indulgence. When you get to January it can almost seem like you’ve forgotten what you used to do with your spare time. Give yourself plenty of time to get back into a routine, especially if it’s different to before the festive season. Get your kids settled back into school (and proper sleep) for at least one full week. Once you feel more normal then you can start address any changes you want to make, but don’t beat yourself up if you need more time, or indeed if you’re happy with the way things are.
Make your own decisions
It can seem like the easy option to follow the latest celebrity diet trend or exercise programme, but if it doesn’t suit you, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Be honest about what you want to achieve and your current lifestyle. Set yourself achievable goals and timescales and take note of every step you take towards them, no matter how small. For me, pushing myself out of my comfort zone by the tiniest amount gives me a real boost that I can draw upon in the future.
What could happen?
Focus on what could happen instead of what might happen. Looking to the positive helps your mindset massively and even if things don’t turn out as planned, inevitably they’re never as bad as you imagine they might be. If you’re had a difficult situation, don’t agonize about what happened (or what could have happened) instead listen to the cliché and learn from it.
I think the most important point is about acceptance. No-one has a good day every day (especially not in January) and that’s OK. If you need to do some soul searching before you join the gym or go vegetarian, go for it! If other people don’t like it, that’s their problem and is often a reflection of what’s going on in their own head.