January is not for me.
Does anyone else have negative feelings towards the month of January? It’s probably my least favorite month. (Sorry for all of you born in January!). The holidays are over, we are all having some sort of chocolate/sugar/carb withdrawal, it’s cold and gloomy outside, the clothes we purchased in December are now all 50% off, and we are all frantically trying to not give up on our New Year Resolutions after one week.
January is just plain TOUGH.
If you’re feeling shitty, you’re not alone. Seasonal depression (aka the winter blues) is a thing, and almost all of us experience it to some degree during or after the holidays. There are many different causes for the winter blues, but the main culprit is sunlight, or lack thereof. When the days get shorter, our bodies increase the production of melatonin, which is linked to mood and sleep patterns, and decrease production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that also affects your mood.
Add these chemical changes to our post Christmas blues, and there is no wonder why so many of us feel down right crappy in January.
This year, I’ve kicked the winter blues to the curb with these five steps:
♥ Positive Affirmations
I say, ‘fake it till ya make it’. I’ve been religiously reciting positive affirmations every morning and evening. In the mornings I think of at least 10 positive things about myself. In the evenings, I think of 10 things that I did during the day that I was proud of. Reciting positive affirmations has seriously helped my mood improve and I genuinely feel more positive through out the day.
Don’t believe me? Try it! Think of 5 things that you’re proud of or love about yourself right now. You instantly feel a little bit better, right? After time, your 10 affirmations will turn into 20, 30, 40, etc. Are you feeling in a slump? Jot down 10 more positive affirmations to reset your mindset and mood. Make sure to end the night on a positive note by focusing on what you accomplished during the day instead of what I still needs to be done or what you didn’t have time to finish.
♥ Accomplish Simple Goals
Why do so many people HATE New Year’s resolutions? Because by February 1st most of these goals have been abandoned. We fail at ever achieving these goals because we set our bar way too high, way too early.
“I want to loose 20 pounds”
“I’m going to go vegan”
“I’m going to become the next Oprah”
Two weeks go by, and you’re still not Oprah. You get angry, and most likely give up trying.
I like to give myself a handful of VERY easy to reach goals that I have to accomplish in the first three weeks of January. These goals may seem silly; but achieving even a small goal will make you feel accomplished and more motivated to keep going. Think of them as your ‘Training Wheel Goals’. Once you accomplish those, you can move onto your bigger goals that you’ve set for yourself. Some of my ‘Training Wheel Goals’ included : Starting each morning with a giant glass of lemon water (so easy), reading for 30 minutes before bed, and posting to Dash of Chaos twice a week. These goals are so easy to achieve and will help encourage me to tackle my bigger, more difficult goals that I’ve set for myself for the rest of the year.
♥ Get Outside
Yes it’s cold and gloomy outside, and sitting inside watching reruns of Golden Girls in your pajamas on a Saturday afternoon sounds much more appealing then heading outside; but getting Vitamin D is VERY crucial during the winter months. I’ve made it a priority to spend at least 15 minutes outside each day. I walk my dogs in the late afternoon, and park my car in the farthest parking spot available in order to spend more time outside in direct sunlight. If you just can’t get outside try investing in a light box and make sure to take Vitamin D supplement during the winter months.
♥ Stay Active
EVERYONE wants to be healthier and more active; especially after the holidays. As we all know, exercise not only gives you a better booty, but also increases mood. My recommendation for staying on track, and actually getting your butt to the gym when you’re in the slumps, is to sign up for some sort of class, get a trainer, or find a group to workout with.
I go to Orange Theory as part of my workout. The first thing I do when I wake up is open up my O.T App, and before I even have time to realize what time it is, I sign up for a class. BAM!!! I can’t turn back now because a cancelled class = money lost. I also have a trainer that I workout with and the last thing I want is for her to call me and chew me out for not showing up to my workout.
♥ Wellness Trip
Take a trip (it can be a weeklong vacation, a weekend getaway, or just an overnighter) in January/February. Here’s the kicker → make it a wellness/outdoor type of vacation. You know, something that reconnects you with Mother Nature. No televisions, no phones, no alcohol (okay, maybe some wine!), and no distractions. Let’s face it, the holidays are super stressful so it’s important to give yourself a day, weekend, or week, to recharge. There are SO many options to choose from! You can go to a full blown wellness camp, a yoga retreat, or simply camping for the weekend. The point is to get outside, disconnect, and reset your mind so you can come back and kick January’s (and 2018’s) ass!
If all else fails, opt for BRIGHT and FUN colored sweaters during the bleak and gloomy months to help brighten your mood and beat the winter blues!
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Good luck out there! And remember, summer is just around the corner!