Argh! All around me people are complaining because it’s January, because it’s cold and because they’re broke.
I get where they’re coming from. I’m cold and broke too.
But as a reformed pessimist, I make a concerted effort these days to nip any whinging in the bud. So, while I can’t change the fact that January is dark, dreary and bleak, I’ve decided not to let it get me down.
What’s so bad about January anyway? It’s a good month to hibernate. A good time to hatch plans. A good time to nurture some optimism, energy and enthusiasm for the coming spring. It’s just around the corner, and when it arrives I want to be able to hit the ground running.
We can’t make the wind, rain, hail or snow stop. And unless we’re willing to rob a bank, we’ll have to live extra frugally until the pay check comes in at the end of the month. As ye olde cliché goes: we can’t control all of our circumstances but we can control how we think about and respond to them.
We always have a choice in this regard. And so it follows, we have a choice whether or not to succumb to the January Blues. I say, don’t!
Say “F*ck it!” and decide to enjoy this dark month. Let’s reframe it in our minds as a retreat. A retreat is a time to nourish our wellbeing and we don’t have to head off to some fancy, expensive spa to do that.
We can simply decide to enjoy staying in by the fire, with a good (inspiring) book, instead of lamenting the fact that we can’t afford to go out socialising. We can choose to let go of “Fear of Missing Out” syndrome and instead dream up ways to make staying in fun.
If you’re feeling stuck and bluesy, here are a few suggestions to help make a shift in your January outlook:
1. Clean slate—fresh start.
Well, of course! We can’t ignore the fact that it’s the beginning of a new year. And beginnings are full of promise and potential. Even those who are (like me) allergic to new year resolutions can still harness this energy. January is a perfect month to take some time and mull over what we’d like to close the door on (energetically) and what we’d like to open up to receive.
2. On your marks, get set.
Twelve whole new months lie before us—or so we hope. There’s something about the start of the year that makes it feel like time is stretching ahead—event hough this is always the case. Once January is over though, the year slips away really quickly and we start to lose that sense of still having plenty of time. So, this is a great month to get organised, in our heads, for whatever tasks we’ve set ourselves for the coming year. Whatever it is you want to accomplish this year, start now—in whatever small way you can. Get some momentum going now and it’ll be easier to keep it up throughout the year.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
3. Back to basics.
This might not apply to the extremely wealthy but, taking them out of the equation, most people are relatively impoverished in January compared to the rest of the year. With no money to spend on frivolity, we have to get through the month very much cutting our cloth according to our measure.
This is the perfect time to get in touch with what we really need and get clear on where we spend money unnecessarily. A materialistic lifestyle isn’t the solution to inner discontent. Use this month to pare things back and simplify your life. Focus on what really matters, and you’ll achieve a much deeper and lasting sense of happiness than the latest iphone can deliver.
4. Embrace the light.
The days are getting longer. After January 7th we get an extra two minutes of daylight per day over the one that went before. Very quickly that will start to add up to brighter mornings and longer evenings. The long, dark nights of winter are getting gradually shorter. Take the time to notice and acknowledge this fact—even if it’s not much yet, gratitude for what little increases are arriving will help to improve our overall state of mind. (Gratitude for anything always improves our mood.)
And light is hugely important with regards to our mood. For sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, dealing with the lack of light is vital and this article gives you some good tips.
Of course, staying upbeat while enduring gloomy weather and gloomy finances is definitely a challenge. But challenges are there to be overcome. To make life more interesting.
We do have a choice: embrace the misery of this month or say “F*** it!” to the doom and gloom. I’m saying “F*** it!”—are you in?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Hilda Caroll
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Never A Star/Flickr