Student Life

How to deal with the January blues

By Aoife O’Mara• Published on: Jan 11, 2022
How to deal with the January blues
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January is often the most highly anticipated month of the year, and is full of ideas of new beginnings and putting the previous year behind us. However, as the decorations begin to come down, the festive cheer begins to dwindle, and we begin to return to our normal everyday lives, we may begin to feel a little blue.

For many, January brings with it a set of expectations, commitments, and revelations from pondering on the previous year. It is not uncommon for the mainstream media to become bombarded with the notion of the ‘January blues’. As the population comes down off the high of festive spirit, we may begin to feel a little low, anxious or apprehensive about the coming year. 

Couple these feelings with the lingering dark evenings, the sluggish feeling after having consumed a mountain of food over the holiday season and you can see why the season brings the January blues. 

Here are some things you can do to help you deal with the January blues!

  1. Make a bucket list
  2. Spend time outdoors
  3. Try something new
  4. Treat yourself
  5. Stay connected

1. Make a bucket list

Many people talk about creating or starting ‘New Year’s Resolutions’, but it can be difficult to find the motivation to keep these changes up all year. 

As such, we propose creating a bucket list of all the things you would like to achieve by the end of 2021. With a bucket list, the possibilities are endless. They will give you something to aspire to without the pressure of having to feel completely tied to as you would with your resolutions. 

Things to include on your bucket list can include places you’d like to visit by the end of the year - this can be great if you are an international student! 

Perhaps you might want to learn how to make pasta from scratch or go to a salsa lesson. Then at the end of 2021, you can look at your little bucket list and feel proud for having accomplished even a few of the things on it. 

2. Spend time outdoors

Just because you have spent time off work and have taken a break from university doesn’t mean you have to immediately throw yourself back into it once the holidays are over. It is important to create a balance, not only for your sanity but to also slowly ease your body into a routine. One of the best ways to create balance is to spend time outdoors.

Make time to go for a brisk walk in the mornings before you tackle your day, or perhaps, go outside and treat yourself to a coffee at lunchtime. Organise with friends to meet up for a hike up the mountains, or a seaside walk with some hot chocolate. By spending time outside you are giving your body much needed vitamin D, which is necessary for regulating your mood. 

3. Try something new

Although resolutions dominate the January headlines of things to take up, we are encouraging you to try something new. We aren’t telling you to commit to five personal training sessions a week or eating a bland salad every day. Instead, step outside of your comfort zone and give yourself a taste of something always you’ve dreamed of trying.

It could be going to a bouldering wall, going to a cookery class, learning how to solve the Rubix cube or heading to a social club. For some people trying something new can be daunting, but the rush of adrenaline knowing you did your best and put yourself out there is an accomplishment you should be proud of. Who knows, you may even find a new passion that you will return to week after week!

4. Treat yourself

Getting back into the swing of academic and working life can be extremely difficult after the holiday season, so, don’t be too harsh on yourself if you are struggling! Give yourself some time to yourself where you can relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday life. Go on, treat yourself!

Treats can be something different for everyone, but we all have them. Perhaps you might go get your nails done or get a massage. Maybe you might prefer to treat yourself to those paints you have been meaning to get or buy that book everyone has been raving on about. Sometimes treats can be something as simple as buying your favourite chocolate and snuggling up under a blanket on the couch watching your guilty pleasure television show.

5. Stay connected

Following the different year that was 2020, more people have felt isolated than ever before. This is why it is more important than ever to continue to stay connected with loved ones. Not only will this help you maintain valuable relationships, but it will also boost your mood and help you deal with the January blues. 

Pick up the phone to your parents, send your grandparents a letter, or go for a walk with friends. For those with roommates why not have a weekly games night where you battle it out for the title of ‘games champion’, or enjoy a movie night on the couch. We guarantee that everyone will appreciate you reaching out to them, especially after the crazy year 2020 has been.

While the January blues are a general dip in the mood following the holiday season, this glum feeling shouldn’t last much longer than a few weeks. If you continue to feel down please contact your doctor.

You can read more about dealing with the winter here.

Related tags:
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Aoife is a freelance writer and journalist based in Ireland. She is passionate about travel, education and culture.

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