5 Ways to Beat the January Blues

It happens. Every year, I can’t avoid it. January. My least favorite month of the year. Why? The Holidays are over and along with it, all of the lights and sparkle. It gets dark early. It gets cold. This year, it’s very cold. Usually, it snows or ices, which means that school gets cancelled. Go ahead, o you people of the North, laugh, but having the kids out of school is disruptive to everything from work schedules to going to doctor appointments. Maybe I dread January maybe more than most people because, as a writer, my soul may be a bit more sensitive to the darkness and doldrums that come with January. Regardless of what age I am, I have to do a January each year. Thirty-one days. That never changes.

Are you that way as well? Does the thought of enduring that first month of the year give you the willies? If you’re a writer, I can easily understand.

Years ago, I decided I had to come up with a way to battle the blahs and blues that creep into my mind and heart about this time of year. Here are five ways I discovered can help.

  1. Work out. Yes, do it, be it going to the gym or walking during the day or running at night. But don’t do it because you’ll lose weight. Do it because those feel-good endorphins kick in after you finish and can last for a bit.
  2. Stay in a lot of light. If you’re like me and work in an office all day, it’s easy to stay inside. Don’t. Get outside at least a little, even if it’s to go to and from the car at lunch. Even fifteen minutes of sunlight helps. So does fresh air. I’ve also found that being in lots of light while indoors helps.
  3. Do something fun. Even when you’re busy in December with Christmas and all of the craziness that comes along, plan something fun for January. Maybe it’s a weekend away. Or some hangout time with your kids. Or, put off watching that blockbuster movie until January. That way, you have something to look forward to, and it might not sell out by that point.
  4. Stay busy. I know. I know. That sounds counter-productive since we’re normally drowning in busyness, but sometimes, keeping our mind occupied helps stay off any blahs and blues that can creep in.
  5. Avoid looking too far forward. This may also seem counter-intuitive, right? You say the point of this blog is to push through January. I agree, but I’ve also learned that if I keep looking too far forward, I can miss unexpected blessings. It may be the joy of walking through freshly fallen snow with family. Or times reading in front of the fire when it’s slow. Or for those of us who write, extra writing time.

Regardless of how you feel about January, it is possible to see it not as something you have to muddle through but as a time of opportunity. It still may be difficult, but it may also turn out to be more enjoyable than you ever dreamed.

Question: How do you beat the January blues?

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2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Beat the January Blues

  1. Have a birthday in January! And have your mom's birthday the day after yours! And then have your husband's birthday at the end of January. And get to know others who have birthdays the first month of the year, and every January make it a tradition to celebrate with them one Saturday. These events all help me to enjoy the month of January. February has been my blah month ever since I was in high school. The cold continues as well as the darkness. Having my four-year-old Daniel die that month 21 years ago has not made the month a good one. But I got re-married in February 9 years ago, and then there's Valentines which is always nice if you have someone you love to share it with. Every month holds potential blessings, and like you said, a time of opportunity. ~ Alice

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