You’ve shaken off the last of your hangover and many over-optimistic people are busy checking out the gyms and counting calories to take off those extra pounds put on over their Christmas dinner(s). Dusty, hot and dreary weather, lack of sleep and too much food and drink leave us feeling sluggish and overweight after the holidays.
Worse still, responsibilities, routine and regular life set in after bathing suits and beach towels are unpacked, replaced by the prospect of returning to work and paying back all those over charged credit card bills.
It’s easy to understand then why people refer to the January Blues – it marks the end of festivities and the beginning of the long, boring slog through the remainder of the year until Easter when we can look forward to more time off and perhaps more rest. In terms of relationships, it’s the month we’re more likely to file for divorce and the month when more people apply for loans to cover up those pesky spending sessions that turned our savings accounts into an empty void.
Still, things don’t need to be all that bad. Here are some tips for keeping your chin up, staying motivated and fighting the unfortunate January blues.
Get some exercise
We all know that even when the motivation isn’t there, you always feel better about yourself- both mentally and physically- after a good workout. Check out your local gym, ask about any promotions they have going or sign up for an exercise class and see how even after just one class, you’ll feel a lot better.
Plan a holiday
Research shows that going on holiday is key to creating happiness. Out of 1,000 people interviewed, almost three quarters of those questioned said going on holiday made them feel happy. So, get online and start looking at where you can go next. Allow yourself to dream and take advantage of all the airline and holiday offers on at the moment. After all, they’re counting on you being broke but you can actually save hundreds by booking that summer vacation early.
Face the issue
All of the above are good distractions but they don’t actually encourage you to face the real issue of why you might not be feeling so good about your life. What’s the problem? Are you feeling down about work, your relationship, home life or your finances?
New Year is often a time for self-reflection which can spiral into the January blues. But rather than pushing your feelings to one side, allow yourself to face them head on. Talk to your partner, your boss or look for another job and acknowledge the issue and deal with it.
Do a Detox
December’s excesses can take a toll on our bodies. Too much alcohol, sugar and indulgence leaves our system feeling sluggish and in desperate need of some time out. Head to Nature’s Way in Lekki for a detox kit, ask for nutritionist advice or just look online for how you can go onto a two-week detox plan.
Clutter in your home can seem so much worse after being on holiday, out of the house and away from the responsibility of having to reorganise. But now that you’re back, you need to fight that temptation to ignore it, pull up your sleeves and get rid of the things you really no longer need.
Ask yourself ‘Do I need all these things? When was the last time I wore that? And do the children still play with these toys?’ Then take them away (there are plenty of kids who could benefit from your cast offs). De-cluttering your house can help you feel clearer about where you need to focus in your life and what you might need to change. Because when things are simple, there is less tidying up, less cleaning around it all, and you’ll have more time and energy for other things.
Set yourself achievable goals
New Year is a great time to look to a different future. But keep it realistic- the last thing you need is to be disappointed half way through the year because you were always likely to end in failure. Life coaches will tell you to break your targets down into micro steps so you’re more likely to achieve them.
If self improvement is your goal, join a gym, a bike riding group, take a course over the internet or start a blog. There are plenty of ideas for how you can get more involved in your neighbourhood or your local community. Ask around or just look on Lost in Lagos for more ideas. There is likely to be something for everyone.
Don’t sit in despair just because Easter and the summer seem a long way off. You’ll never get through the month. Call a friend, make a date, ensure you have a full social calendar to keep your mind off the January blues and remember… February really isn’t that far off . . .
It’s the smell that first intoxicates you. Your mouth starts to water, all your attention fixed...