It may feel very exciting at midnight when the Big Ben chimes ring out, but does a New Year really feel “new” once the initial flush of resolutions and bank holidays have passed?

Coping with normal life resuming once the buzz of the festive season has passed can feel quite tough. Back to busy commutes, school runs, fighting with children to get coats, boots and scarves on in the bad weather, and getting your brain switched back on for another year of work. On top of all of this, some people choose to use January as a time to reset their physical selves, either by joining the gym, giving up alcohol or certain foods, and denying themselves the things they may have indulged on a little too much throughout December. But it isn’t all doom and gloom! We are here to spread a little cheer throughout the grey January days!

January can feel quite tough!

Top Tips To Make January Less Grey

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s easy, after a, perhaps slightly overindulgent festive season, to feel a little unhappy with yourself, or your appearance. The sun isn’t shining as much, the days are still short and you may have put your gym gear on for the first time in a while. Don’t be disheartened! You’ve done something amazing: you’ve seen in another year. Without being too morbid about it, lots of people would love to see in a new year, and some people have had to see it in without loved ones. Be thankful for being here to see it, and try to see the positives in a fresh start, even if you have had a tough 2019. You’re still here and people do care about you.
  • Take up a new hobby. Here at Happydesigner we’ve taken up a couple of new hobbies for the new year. Sarah has been working on her felting (mostly making animals, of course!) and Nicola has been trying to teach herself knitting again. Don’t be afraid of sucking at it! Just having a go and persisting will make you feel good. Practise is fun, and even if it feels like your paintings or photographs or guitar playing absolutely sucks tennis balls, it doesn’t matter! Enjoy it. Use it to get some downtime. Embrace the time to yourself, even if it’s for ten minutes after the kids are in bed, or when you sign off your work e-mails.
  • Get out! Ok, so the weather isn’t great this time of year. We’ve had a lot of rain and a lot of wind. But, as your favourite grandma always said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes! Or something like that! Wrap up warm, dig out the hats and scarves and polish off the wellies. Go and splash in some muddy puddles or walk along the beach, take the dogs. Get cold and wet and enjoy the fresh air! Then when you get home, put everything in the wash, dry off and make a cup of tea. Embrace the red cheeks and watery eyes!
  • Make some achievable goals for the year ahead. It’s so, so tempting to make huge lists of everything you’d like to get done in 2020. Write that novel, paint a masterpiece, start a new business, get a new job. Sometimes it’s better to have a list of things you want that are HUGE, but it’s better for your brain if you make a list of achievable and specific goals. Maybe you want to travel a little more, but can only afford a train journey. See what you can do with that! Perhaps tie it in with visiting an old friend!

“As the old saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Shift your focus from the ultimate goal to a series of doable intermediate tasks. Specific goals allow for better monitoring of progression toward the goal. Setting specific goals (e.g., write 3 pages every day) is more motivating than urging people to do their best.”

Psychology Today
  • Aim to read more. Along with achievable goals you can add “read more” to your list. Whilst you may be a hugely prolific reader already, it doesn’t hurt to try to fit a little more in! If you already read a lot of fiction, perhaps try a little non-fiction. Did you read a great fiction book on the English Civil War? Maybe find a non-fiction book that covers the topics you found interesting, and read a bit further into it. If you read a lot of non-fiction, or magazines, maybe try a novel. You can find lots of places online to help choose new books, or head to your local bookshop and ask them what they would recommend.

Whatever you choose to do with your new year/new start, stay positive, try to focus on achievable goals and make an effort to be thankful that you are able to make goals, see friends, earn money, or even just have a bed to sleep in. It’s easy to say, but less easy to do. Look beyond the grey skies of January and search for the first daffodil!