January

It was a dreary day in January last year when one of my coworkers announced, “I hate January. It’s like a month of Mondays.”

I don’t think January has ever been summed up so succinctly. Can’t every day in January be described as “dreary?” Have you ever once heard someone whose birthday is not in January say that January is their favorite month?

I have yet to meet a person even with a January birthday say with any measure of enthusiasm that they were looking forward to January. Sky Travel even designates one Monday of January every month as “Blue Monday,” the most depressing day of the year. January hits many people with seasonal depression, as well.

But what can we do about it? We’re stuck in the middle of a dreary January, a month of Mondays. We just passed the most depressing day of the year (January 15th), but is the rest of January really any better?

I don’t know about you, but it can be easy for me to feel overwhelmed by the gray skies, the bad air, the already-failed resolutions (two days ago, I had cookies for breakfast. So much for my diet), the gloomy prospects of a year where, once again, my life isn’t going to get better but I have a whole year to deal with it… the list goes on and on. The holidays are over, only government and school workers get Martin Luther King, Jr., Day off (and still, that was Blue Monday), and the weekend of the year, the bright summer months of June and July, are still forever away.

Unfortunately, the governments of the future haven’t revealed the secrets of time travel to us, so we are stuck in this month of Mondays. And for some of us, that’s a real problem. So how are we supposed to get through the rest of this dreary month?

To survive January, create your own sunshine. There’s not a lot of natural sunshine this month, and what does come through the clouds is thin and pale compared to what we enjoy in the summer. Instead of looking to the sky for light, look around you.

Here are five tips to help you find sun in your life:

  1. Spend time with people who put a smile on your face.More often than not, the people around you will be your source of light. It can be tempting to isolate yourself in this miserable month of Mondays, but resist that temptation.

  1. Do an activity every day that engages your sense of touch. Play with sand, or buy a can of alphabet soup and play in it to see if it contains the full alphabet, experiment with finger paints, or do any other number of activities that might help you focus on your senses instead of the overwhelming dreariness around you.

  1. Celebrate the little victories. Maybe you’re not doing everything you hoped you’d be doing this year, and maybe you’re feeling a little down on yourself because of it, but instead of focusing on all of the things still on your to-do list, focus on the things you can say “ta-da!” about. Celebrate your little victories as you can.

  1. Treat yo’ self. Sometimes January is difficult because you have to do things you don’twant to do. For instance, there are certain medications I now have to take, and I hate it. But if I take the medication with hot cocoa or some other sort of treat, I don’t hate it as much. If there’s something you dread doing that you have to do anyway, make it bearable by adding something you like to the mix.

  1. Take it one day at a time. Try to stop focusing on what you have to do, or what you’re not doing, or what you’re missing, or what you have coming up this year. Take it one day at a time. And if that’s too much, that’s okay. Sometimes one day at a time is too much, at least for me. There are some days I have to take it one breath at a time; if I can just keep breathing, that’s enough. Remind yourself that you are enough, and that all you have to do is keep going in this day, this moment, this movement, this breath.

 

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