Beating January Blues.

Photo of me by Mel Knight

January is always the month where you set goals, get excited for the year ahead and plan everything out neatly in your brand new diary. But, ultimately, you still get down in the dumps.

January blues is a thing. The days are short and grey, your bank account looks emaciated, and you're paying for that horrendous (but, let's admit, it was great) diet  that you have been gorging on over the past few weeks. You feel fed up, spiritless and bored. And don't even get me started on having to go back to work/school/university - where on earth did Christmas break even go?!

So, I've compiled a list of five things for you think about (and do!) when you're feeling yourself getting overwhelmed, grumpy or stressed, to give you five minutes to go 'Okay! I'm done sulking, let's go!'.

1. Be Grateful

One of the most important things in life is gratitude, and to not take anything for granted. You may want more, be striving for more, and be unsatisfied with what you have, but you cannot be happy if you can't find gratitude in what you have right now. Right now is what counts - the people surrounding you, the roof over your head, the food (even if it's limited!) in your fridge, and the people in your life.
To do: Think about, or write down, all of the things in life that you are grateful for. It could be as small as the cup of tea you were able to make this morning, or as big as the promotion that you have recently been given. The key thing is, no matter how big or small, it's what counts in your life. 

2. Plan to do something new

We get bored. We settle too easily. We like routine. Let me tell you something - your mind does not! It's super easy to fall into a routine where everything becomes solid, you know what you're doing and when, it's safe, familiar and secure - what it is not? Exciting. Push yourself to do something new, whether it's walking a different way to work or dying your hair a colour you've always thought about.
To do: If there is an area of your life that you can identify as being samey, make a promise to yourself to do something new. Keep it simple - I'm not saying you should sky-dive into work or use every last penny to make your home a chocolate factory (although that sounds bloody great, please do that) - Start small. Everyday, wake up and go 'okay, what could I do a little bit different today?'.

3. Appreciate the people that surround you

... and distance yourself from the people that bring no positivity to your life. As social animals, we need people in our lives to feel happy, unfortunately, loners, that's just how we are! Whether it's a strong family bond, best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/Katy Perry, the love they provide is above all others, and ones that we should remember. 
To do: Take the time to think about the people in your life that provide you support, love and commitment. They are the ones that count and the ones that you should put above all others. They're also there to remind you that you're not alone. So, please don't ever feel alone.

4. Find happiness in what you do

We're all back at work and/or education now, and I have seen many tweets complaining about it and yes, in my head I'm also moaning about my return to work/uni too, but I also try my hardest to find the happiness within each one. It's super important that we like/love what we do, and it's key that if we don't, something has to change. 
To do: Make a list of what you enjoy about your work, the people, the environment etc. If your sole answer is 'the money', then make a separate list - what would you love to do? It makes me sad to see somebody working in a job that they hate - figure out what you want to do with your life, daydream away and think of step-by-step ways to get there, whether you are right at the bottom of the steps, or half way up, any goal is reachable. Make a start on climbing the steps today, whether it is difficult or not.

5. Smile!

You might feel down in the dumps, but that's fine, just remember to smile. 
To do: Spend time with some friends, watch your favourite comedy, have a phone call with somebody that you know makes you laugh, look back at old photographs (trust me, I did this the other night and I ended up full blown chuckling sat in my bed), do something that you love, even if it's as simple as reading blogs or watching a youtube video (because we're all funny little things on the internet). Smiling and laughing is key for your spirit, body and mind.

I hope these five little things helped your blues in some way, or just generally opened your eyes to what you could change to help yourself stay motivated and smiling :) and one last major key thing?
Go and give your pet a huge cuddle and tell them how much you love them! They'll fight back, but we know they love us too, right?

Keep your head up and keep smiling 

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