Tuesday. Not quite a Monday but edging closer to the beginning of normal life resuming on Wednesday, and the official proper start of January. Ordinarily normal life would resume today, but an inset day at my daughter’s school has given us a brief reprieve.
So this morning we (me, the kids) allowed ourselves to be a little bit lazier. Breakfast was later, getting dressed was a relaxed affair (although it was punctuated with my daughter’s new favourite game – showing me her bum and singing ‘bummy bum bum’). Morning telly was still Christmassy thanks to on-demand TV. We even managed a stroll out to the park and a bit of windsweptness. And then when we got back, while the kids played, I sorted a drawer. Isn’t it funny how you can spend the whole of the rest of the year filling a drawer with crap – in our case usually post, unused notebooks, empty batteries, and appliance manuals – only to have a sudden urge in early January to sort it out. Perhaps only to refill it again.
In this particular drawer, I found a few half-used and a few completely empty notebooks but two in particular caught my eye. In order of year, they were titled ‘Mad’s Keep Fit Book 2015’ and ‘Mad’s Getting Healthy Book 2016’. Sensing a theme? It would appear I have the same thought process at the end of every Christmas and the beginning of each January and I was perilously close to creating a new notebook (I had one ready) called ‘Mad’s Getting Healthy and Fit (Again) Book 2017’. Thankfully, I stopped myself. It clearly doesn’t work. I start the book each year. I go running, I write it down. I eat some fruit, I write it down. Somewhere between February and March, I give up and confine the book to the bottom drawer for discovery at a later date by a future (and probably not healthier) me.
I also find myself having the same thought processes about how best to start the year in terms of making resolutions to make myself generally better/happier/more successful every year. But I do wonder what the point of this is and why we pick that moment every year to make ourselves feel that we are in some way not good enough, so that we need to start fresh for the new year?
I’ve read a few fab blog posts about making or not making resolutions, so this won’t be one of those. All I will say about that is that I clearly am bad at keeping resolutions. There is one thing I’m good at though – lining up fun things to look forward to and fun things to think about, to combat the January blues, which I suffer with every year. And right now, I bet I’m not alone. Depending on how full or empty your glass is, January can be a month full of potential and opportunity or it can seem like a massive crash after the Christmas celebration. I’m in both camps. Somethings I feel excited that it’s a new year, and at other times I feel sluggish, tired, and a bit low that Christmas is done. It’s like I’m now on the wrong side of Christmas. So, I think about good things to come – not in the year but just in the month. Start small, baby steps, and take little bits of niceness and fun as they come. Eventually, the January blues will start to lift and I’ll be back in the zone.
I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting a few things from my own brain about how to have a happy January, if you too get the blues.
- Arrange a birthday – admittedly I have a head start on this given I was born in January some years ago. But if you don’t have a birthday in January, you could always copy the Queen and have an official birthday. This then means cake, presents, party, awesome.
- Line up a new box set to watch on TV until the nights are getting a bit lighter and you can venture out of your mole den. For us this year we’ve chosen Sherlock, from the beginning.
- Don’t throw out the spare Christmas chocolate during a moment of guilt – keep it in the fridge to have in bits throughout the month. None of this diet and detox rubbish. Chocolate makes you feel happy. Happy is good.
- Go for some walks. I know, boring boring. But, it’s a happy medium in between burpys and press-ups, and feeling bad doing no movement at all. Plus the fresh air actually will genuinely make you feel better. And if you live near some moors you can pretend you’re a heroine in a classic novel.
- Arrange a cinema night. Check out the listings – I know you’re all excited about Trainspotting 2.
- Have some ‘present appreciation’ time. Spend just a few minutes, line up your presents and look at them. However old you get, this never stops being enjoyable.
- Go for a drive and sing really loud in the car to some inappropriate music. If you want to feel truly liberated, carry on singing at traffic lights and look at the people in the car next to you.
I’m sure you will have your own ‘happy things’ that make you feel better if you get the January blues but these might get you started. And on a more serious note, if the blues get too much, talk to somebody, let your friends and family know you’re not in a good place, and you need some TLC.
Wishing you all a happy January.
Image by Mike Linksvayer under Creative Commons.