How Do You Beat the January Blues?

It got to Wednesday last week and I was feeling a bit down. I couldn’t work out why at first, I told myself I shouldn’t be feeling the January blues: the weather isn’t cold; I’m not back at work; and nothing has changed since last year. The feeling persisted however, and then I realised I hadn’t left the house in nearly a week apart from to take my son to the hospital for his immunisations or go to the supermarket – not exactly thrilling outings! It’s not that I hadn’t done anything at all, I had a few people round one day and had been quite busy around the house. But what with feeling tired after getting back from Hong Kong and then my son feeling out of sorts after his jabs, I hadn’t made the effort to go anywhere. On Thursday I went out for the morning and felt so much better.

It made me think back to when we first moved to Brunei. Part of my husband’s contract when we moved abroad stipulated that he had to start work the day after we arrived. So following a seventeen hour flight, we arrived mid-afternoon at our temporary apartment and the next day he was picked up and taken to the office. I was hugely jet-lagged (there’s an eight hour time difference between the UK and Brunei and travelling East is always harder), alone in a strange flat and had no transport or any clue where I was or where I could go. There was a cafe across the road from the apartment block where I ate breakfast, but it was pretty much deserted every time I ate there. I spent most of the first day sleeping and reading a book, until my husband came home with a hire car and took me for dinner. Not so bad for one day, but this was pretty much the same pattern for the first couple of weeks, and by the end of it I was starting to feel a little crazy!

It was at this point that I decided enough was enough, and I forced myself to go out every day from that point onwards. I joined the gym, drove myself into the local town, went for a coffee…. anything to get myself out of the flat. And at first it was hard; I did most of those things by myself, and it was a little daunting in a strange country. But little by little things changed. I went to events, signed up for activities, and once I had made a few friends I found that I was introduced to more and more people.

Since then I have always kept myself busy and, although things changed a lot when I had a baby, if I made myself go out I would always feel better for it – whether it was to a baby group or for coffee (decaf now!) I don’t always feel like it after a bad night’s sleep, or when one, or both, of us is having a grouchy day. But no matter how hard it is, it’s always worth it for the feeling that I have done something with my day and, even if it’s just a wander around town, it usually cheers me up. Sometimes you have to throw yourself into life rather than just drift along, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

After a busy weekend I’m ready to resume all of my activities this week and maybe look around for something new – just the thought of a new challenge makes me eager to begin the week ahead. So hopefully the January blues have been banished for another year, or at least until I forget all of my resolutions.

I would love to hear your tips for getting over the January blues, feel free to share them in the comments section.

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8 thoughts on “How Do You Beat the January Blues?

  1. For me, I see January as the month of hope. It’s the beginning of a new year and I feel rejuvenated to find new past times, improve situations and make important life changes, like you’re doing. It’s once this momentum slows down in February that I’m in trouble!
    Hope you’ve conquered Jan blues for this year at least 🙂

  2. This speaks to me. As a result of recently quitting my job I find myself isolated, lounging around the house day after day, which makes me feel blah. Realizing I need to throw myself into civilization, I committed to date myself at least once a week. I also really sought out a friend for a twice a week jog session so I could assure myself of some intellectual conversations 🙂 You have to work at it, I know that now. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. For me, January is Summer so it’s always wonderful to be able to get out of the house and go to the beach and enjoy the great outdoors. Having said that, my husband always heads interstate for most of January with work and sometimes it is very hard to motivate myself to leave the house when not at work.

    Our children are far more independent now so are often out themselves leaving me home alone. It really does make all the difference to leave the house even if it’s for a walk on the beach and a coffee on my own, its a wonderful opportunity for ‘me’ time and I always return home refreshed 🙂

  4. I spent 40 long winters in Minnesota, where the winter acts like a jailer, and January was surely the hardest month, even though the days were getting microscopically longer. The only thing I can think of is what you’re already doing: Throw yourself out of the house, at gunpoint if need be. See other people. We’re all, at heart, herd animals and don’t do well in isolation.

    1. I am pleased to say that it’s worked, hopefully that’s it for another year. I used to get them really badly when I lived in Scotland but can’t quite understand it here as although it’s rainy season we don’t have any dark nights to deal with. It must just be some kind of post-Christmas slump!

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