How to be kind to yourself in January

First post of 2019 alert! The back end of 2018 was a quiet time for The Positiff Blog. But with good reason. Studying, a busy schedule and some little dark period of anxieties, illness and not much motivation meant that writing wasn’t on my mind. You have to want to do something to do it properly right?

Anyway, after a lovely Christmas with family and friends, I’m feeling better and more able to spread the positivity once more. This post is one I feel a lot of people might need in this long, bleak month. The January Blues are a real thing. SAD syndrome/winter depression affects a helluva lot of us and it can be hard to see the light and occupy our minds when it’s cold, dark and miserable. It’s a time when we’re making resolutions, striving to make this ‘our year’ and putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. Only 2 weeks ago we were being encouraged to spend spend spend, eat everything in sight and indulge ourselves to the max. Now, January has hit us all in the face with it’s ‘drop a stone’ diet slogans, discount gym joining fees and messages telling us to restrict ourselves, save our cash but still DREAM BIG.

I say NOPE. Why does January have to be this bleak, baron month where we pile on the pressure? Why not view it as the month that eases us into the new year, when we can be kind to ourselves and just be. There shouldn’t be any stressing about ‘sorting our lives out’, dropping a dress size or planning out our year in the first 31 days. There are 12 whole months. Things change all the time. Who knows what we will fill those months with? And with who? The only thing I appreciate with a New Year is that it’s a clean slate. A new book, with 12 chapters, ready to fill with some brilliant stories.

So how can we be kinder to ourselves this month? How can we take the blues away and fill our days with positivity and purpose? Here are some ideas:

Resist the urge to scroll
One goal I have set is restricting my screen time on social media. I’ve set my restrictions on my iPhone and can’t access apps like Instagram or Twitter when my time is up. I’ve already noticed a big reduction in time spent on my phone and my pick ups per hour have gone down drastically. Not scrolling will also make you feel better about yourself. You won’t be comparing yourself to others and feeling inundated with the ‘new year new me’ posts full of everyone else’s goals and achievements.

I’ve turned to books majorly recently (especially when I was ill and couldn’t look at a screen). I devoured 2 over Christmas and am onto my 2nd book this month already. If I read for 20-30 minutes a day, I find myself escaping, breathing more calmly and forgetting any worries from that particular day. It can be anything – a blog, a magazine, a newspaper or your favourite novel.

Teach yourself something new.
Is there anything you want to learn or find out more about? Instead of dwelling on what’s been and how cold the weather is, be productive and research something that interests you. Look into that course you’d like to do or read up on something that inspires you.

Make plans with those you love.
Having something in the diary with my friends and family always has me feeling happy. Even if it’s just going round your friends to cook dinner, have a drink and catch up, it’s waaaay better than staying in solo and contemplating life whilst trying to find something to watch on Netflix. (However I do have some brilliant recommendations coming up in my next post FYI).

Book a trip.
If the timing and funds allow it, why not book a trip away? Maybe a secluded spot with a hot tub here in the UK, or a new city abroad? Or even a couple of weeks in the sun somewhere more exotic. It’s always a safe bet that escaping the winter and enjoying somewhere new when most people are heading back to work will give you that boost.

Ditch the fad diets.
This time of year reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally pisses me off because of how the diet industry bombards us with crap about how we’re now not good enough and need to shed the pounds and ‘get back on it’. I’ve seen so many adverts on TV for Slimming World, Weight Watchers, the Jane Plan and my favourite – XLS medical ‘fat burning’ tablets (aka laxatives). As well as these I’ve seen discounts to join gyms, celebrities endorsing meal replacements on Instagram (hello Kardashian’s you idiots) and general marketing gumph designed to shame us into this never ending cycle of weight loss, weight gain and self hate. Your purpose is not to weigh less. Move more, enjoy your food, take away the obsessive calorie counting and work on improving your relationship with food and fuelling your body properly in 2019.

Treat yourself.
A lot can be said for retail therapy. Did you get any money or vouchers for Christmas? Enjoy browsing online and treating yourself to things you have wanted for a while. I bought myself some matching luggage in Debenhams and feel bloody fantastic for it – the little things! Having said this, don’t let the sales pressure you into thinking you actually need something when you don’t need it at all. Really take a moment before pressing that purchase button and ask yourself if it’s just because it’s discounted that you’re purchasing it, not that you actually need or want it.

Get out and walk more.
Crisp winter mornings are perfect for a long walk in your local area. I’d much rather be doing this than running on a treadmill in a sweaty overcrowded gym. Grab your other half, dog, friends or family and head out for an hour wrapped up and ready to clock up the steps. Bonus if there is a pub along the way…

Just relax and be.
Nothing good comes of stressing unnecessarily. Who cares what might happen 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years down the line. What’s happening now is that you’re here, going about your day, making choices that will affect your happiness. Run that bath, slap on that facemask, call your friend, listen to that podcast or watch that film. Being in the now brings so much joy.

I hope your January is fun and fulfilling. Don’t let this time of year get you down.

Much love and Happy New Year,

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