January can be a pretty miserable month if you let it. It’s dark, cold, long, a long wait till payday and all the festivities are over. There are lots of comments about the January blues, and January being the longest month ever. To make it even more challenging, some people then choose to give things up (dry January, veganuary etc) or try and start 101 new habits to make the year the best one yet. I’ve never hated January (it is my birthday month after all) but I can usually see where people are coming from when they moan. This year through a combination of different things, and some willpower to really try and think positive, I’ve definitely managed to keep any sign of January blues at bay and I’ve actually really enjoyed the month. So what have I been doing?
Birthday celebrations for days
I think I’ve had a different sort of cake every weekend in January as I’ve seen different people – I have well and truly milked my birthday for all it’s worth! It’s a little bit easier when it’s more of a milestone, but I do think it’s something I need to think about in future years. As an adult I’ve largely written off my birthday as it comes so soon after Christmas and New Year that there doesn’t seem much point in lots of celebrations, but I think I’m changing my mind.
Adult sleepovers and being sociable
I’ve possibly slept in more different places this January than I have done in any other because we’ve been getting out and being sociable. The benefit of being older means most of my friends have space to stay, even if you’re on an air mattress still, so it makes visiting people cheaper and easier. I think I’ve seen more of some university friends this month than I have done at any point since we graduated, and it’s been great.
Making the most of flexible working
I quite like being in the office, so it wasn’t until I started to realise that I wasn’t really getting any working from home days anymore that I started to wonder if I was getting the balance wrong. As a result, this month I’ve really tried to make the most of flexible working. A couple of times I’ve even gone home at lunchtime and had a meeting free afternoon of focused work, and I’ve found it’s really helped. I do like being in the office, but not if I’m going to be sitting by myself or doing all the meetings for a day online anyway.
Having been quite sceptical (I do try and have a healthy diet and believe you should be able to get what you need from what you eat), I’m now a huge advocate for vitamin D tablets. I’m not sure if it’s the impact of the tablets, placebo effect or a combination of the other things I’ve done this month but my goodness I feel happier and less tired all the time. Next winter I’ll definitely start these sooner!
Getting away from my desk at lunch time
One of the things I really wanted to do this year, but it’s tough when you don’t have an obvious place to go and eat your packed lunch. Whilst I have still largely been eating my lunch at my desk, I have also gone for a walk or found somewhere to sit and read. It means in getting less work done in the day, but I do feel happier. It helps that my desk mate is trying the same thing so we’re keeping each other accountable.
Making time to be creative
I won’t lie, I haven’t had huge amounts of spare time this month, but when I have I’ve tried to prioritise doing something creative. I’ve managed to do some crochet, write a story opening from a writing prompt and even written a couple of blog posts this month. It’s reminded me that you don’t have to complete a whole project in an evening for it to feel good.
Crisp winter days
I’ve had zero control over this one but with the exception of a few storms, I could definitely tolerate the weather this January. We must have had about a fortnight of very cold but dry and crisp winter weather, with some gorgeous clear blue skies. Seeing any sun at this time of year feels like a treat so that definitely helped to boost my mood.
Food for the soul
I really like food, and we’ve had a lot of good food this month (and I’m not just talking about the cake!). Going away for my birthday gave us plenty of excuse to eat out and try some new things, but I’ve also tried out a couple of new recipes. It was really nice to spend some time baking with a friend who came to visit, and it made me want to do more as the year goes on.
If the rest of the year continues the way it started, then I reckon it’s going to be a pretty good one. Through all of the above (and probably some other things I’ve forgotten about) I’ve been more resilient to issues at work, and generally less anxious. The washing basket might be overflowing, and I may be behind on all of my to do lists, but somehow I care slightly less than I have done previously.
What’s your January been like?