Life Support: How to beat the January blues

Essential skills for the modern world


Lower your expectations


With so much time and energy spent ushering in the new year, it is no wonder that its eventual arrival is a bit of a letdown. While it is great to be hopeful about the coming 12 months, it is best to be realistic too. Even if this is the year in which you get promoted, lose a stone, bag a book deal and win the Lottery, you can bet that everything will be just the same for the first frosty few weeks. Bear that in mind and you'll find January a lot less disappointing.

Plan

When the carousel of office parties, family get-togethers and festive drinks finally grinds to a halt, it can be a mite depressing. While the peace and quiet that follows Christmas and New Year may prove a welcome respite from all the hustle and bustle of December, a blank social calendar is daunting – especially when there are 12 long months to fill. Cut blues off at the pass by making lots of exciting plans for January.



Be Creative

Don't try to emulate the fun you had in December. Most people approach the new year with their credit cards, waistbands and liver function all feeling the strain, so bear this in mind when arranging get-togethers. Extravagant dinners and mammoth drinking sessions are out; simple home-cooked meals and DVD sessions are in. Try to make the most of free activities, such as winter walks, art galleries, and reading; wholesome pursuits that involve either mental or physical exertion and fall under the heading of "self-improvement", providing a welcome boost to self-esteem.



Don't punish yourself

If, like most of the population, eating and drinking too much has left you feeling mildly disgusted with yourself, try to ignore it. Don't come over all puritanical and decide that January is going to be an alcohol-, smoke- and fun-free zone – that will just make an already bleak month much worse. By all means resume the gym visits that you ditched in December, cut back on junk food and have a few early nights, but don't go to extremes.



Make a change

If all that taking stock and giving thanks over the festive season has made you realise that there are things in your life you are unhappy with, then January is a good time to address them. The month is named after the god Janus, who is usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions – one into the future and one into the past. This unique viewpoint makes January a great time for learning lessons from your past and applying them to the future.

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