Tomorrow is the final day of January and, for me at least, it can’t come soon enough. I’ve written before about how I struggle with the winter months and the last month has felt particularly gloomy and miserable. Day after day of rain and grey skies with just fleeting glimpses of blue skies and sun. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can really struggle at this time of year and even the most cheery and optimistic of us can fall prey to the odd bout of the January blues.
At this time of year, all my body seems to want to do is sleep. And even when I sleep well, I still wake up feeling lethargic and tired. Getting outside to exercise often improves my mood, but just working up the energy to get togged up in my layers and get out can sometimes feel too hard. Rather than looking forward to the year ahead, my mind is prone to dwell on all the things that are wrong with the world, rather than all the things that are right. I think of what I should be doing, how I should be a more positive person, why everyone else seems to be achieving more than me. At this time of year perhaps more than any other, I struggle to avoid comparisonitis.
I don’t have a solution to this. (If anyone does, please let me know!) But over the years, I have figured out a few things that make me feel better, if only for a while, and help to banish those January blues.
Make the Most of Sunny Days
It doesn’t feel like we’ve had many, but at this time of year, you have to make the most of whatever sun you can get. It can be frustrating if you work full-time in an office and the sun only seems to come out during office hours. But even just half an hour in the cold winter sun can help improve your mood.
The same is true on the weekends. I scour the weather forecast, searching for any sign of sun. If the weather’s looking good then make the most of it. As I try and tell myself, the cleaning can wait for a rainy day.
Escape to the Sun
This is many Brits’ solution to dark dreary January days. In previous years, I’ve usually booked a climbing trip to Spain during the first couple of months of the year. Not only does this give me the motivation to get down to the climbing wall and train over the winter, but it also allows me to feel the sun’s warmth on my skin for a few days.
This year, we decided to stay in the UK and will be touring southern England in our campervan in March, praying for good weather.
If you’re lucky enough to be in a position where you’re not tied to one location because of family commitments or work, then why not temporarily relocate to a warmer climate for some of the winter months?
If you can’t get away, then there’s nothing for it but to make the best of the winter weather. This means embracing the dark nights and the wind and rain lashing on the windows (it’s atmospheric, right?) and making your home is cosy as possible. Light some candles, put on some relaxing music and spend the evening curled up with a good book.
Get Outside, Even If It’s Raining
Even if the weather isn’t great, I still find it helps to get outside of this time of year. If I’m feeling sleepy and lethargic, then there’s nothing like lashing rain-soaked wind in my face to wake me up! A quick walk, run or spin on the bike will get your blood moving and give you a much-needed boost of energy.
Plan An Adventure
Another good use of dreary January days is to spend time planning and preparing for your next adventure. Or adventures – why stop at one! It always cheers me up to have something to look forward to and planning the details of a summer adventure can make the dullest day seem a little brighter.
What are your tips to get through the January blues? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!