January is known as the most depressing month of the year, at least in the northern part of the northern hemisphere. Holidays are behind, spring is still months away and all we have is cold weather, work, long to-do lists and the pressure of keeping up with strict new year’s resolutions, such as going to the gym 3 times a week and starving ourselves with post-holidays diets, while staying in to save money after holiday spending. No wonder people are feeling miserable in January!
But just because holidays are over, does not mean that enjoyment and pleasure have to be too!
Having had years of bad cases of post-holiday blues, I know what I am talking about. This year, however, is different. My January is surprisingly non-gloomy. Having spent nearly four weeks away from London, two of them in beautiful Mexico, I should be going through a period of feeling down, sad and unhappy to be back to winter weather, lack of day light, packed trains on my daily commute to work and a very stressful work schedule. But thankfully this is not the case.
What has changed? This year (ok, starting at the end of last year) I made a conscious decision to focus on my daily requirements and make them my priority, starting with establishing healthy boundaries that protect my needs from the demands of a busy city lifestyle.
So here are my tips on how to make simple changes to your daily life and your mindset to help you avoid post-holiday blues. I do not like the commonly used phrase “beat the post-holiday blues” because to beat something you need to come in contact with it. My intention is to avoid it altogether.
1. Create a daily routine that suits you
I start my day with a cup of hot water with lemon and ginger, then I do 10 minute of light stretching and breathing exercises, finishing with a short meditation, often involving colour. Having 15 minutes of calm and stillness while setting my intentions for the day really helps to reduce my stress levels. Then, only after I have taken my shower, applied all my moisturisers and chose what to wear, do I allow myself to turn on my phone and emails. Beauty and expressing myself through style is important to me, so I honor it before I attend to anyone else’s request.
Do you know what is important to you on a daily basis? Do you honor it? It’s not about simply copying what a celebrity from a magazine you read does, but about allowing yourself to be authentic and honest about your daily lifestyle requirements and desires. And of course we can use other people’s daily practices for tips and inspiration. Check out this website for ideas.
2. Forget about diets
Instead choose to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. Mine told me it needed a cleanse. So I decided to go gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol free for two weeks. This may sound very scary and limiting, but for me it is not about deprivation, but about finding new interesting recipes, new flavours and new yummy foods to enjoy while my body is benefiting from lighter meals. I have started to feel better after the first four days. Your body may tell you something different. Check out this blog I discovered recently for recipes.
3. Treat yourself, indulge all your senses
Many seem to think that post-holiday period is the time to deprive ourselves after the festive season and treats are a taboo during the January weight loss programme. But treating ourselves daily is an essential element of quality lifestyle. There are so many experiences to enjoy with all our sense – from tasty food to walks in a park. Since coming back from holidays, I have introduced a daily treat ritual in the afternoon. It can be a small piece of raw chocolate or my new favorite – a cup of warm almond milk with cinnamon (always in a beautiful mug). Another part from my daily routine are short walks (can be as short as 5 minutes) when all I do is enjoy all the beauty around me, be it London architecture, nature in parks or stylish people. This is time to be fully present to enjoy and receive the pleasure of experiencing beauty, no thoughts about daily problems allowed. Another thing I decided to treat myself to in January is a weekly massage with essential oils.
4. Spend time outside and in nature
Lack of light is one of the main reasons we feel depressed in winter. It is especially noticeable after holidays, and, if like me and many of my friends, you sent your holiday in a sunny destination, the contrast will be striking. Make sure you get enough daylight every day. I go out for lunch for at least 30-40 minutes every day, no matter how busy I am. This is a non-negotiable. Daylight and sunshine are essential for our moods and immune systems. Daily walks I mentioned above is a great excuse to be outside.
5. Focus on your desires for this year
Many of us are not completely unhappy but most of the people I know would like to change at least one area of their life or improve their current lifestyle in some way. This is especially obvious in January when we set new plans and resolutions. These plans can be overwhelming and may seem very far away from where we are now. No wonder so many people drop them too soon. I have done this many times.
This year, by choosing to focus on my desires for 2014 and the lifestyle I would love to create for myself, instead of thinking about what I don’t like and don’t have, I am able to remain in a creative state. Being in this state allows me to take small yet inspired daily action to make these desires reality.
Do you get post holiday blues? If so, how do you deal with it?
Do you know what lifestyle you desire to create for yourself this year?
If you would like more clarity on what lifestyle suits you, get in touch with me here for a free discovery session.