Most people suffer from a slight depressions in January because the days are colder, darker and there is all sorts of bad news on TV—ominous reports about the economy that don't mean much of anything to anybody, endless reruns, and thousands of health ads that suggest an immediate diet or a funeral is in order. And then there is that uncomfortable feeling that credit card bills are coming soon—and reality sets in—you spent too much money on the holidays. In fact, everything and everybody just stops until Superbowl Sunday—which is in February this year. There is that familiar feeling that Spring is coming, but truly, it is still along ways off—3 months off. So we snuggle up to a heater and just lay low as the days slowly dissolve into February.
A few years ago I tried something different—I changed the pattern and appointed January as my favorite month of the year, and it has made all the difference in my life. I turned the TV off, so no bad news could creep in to upset me. I stopped making New Years resolutions that I would break by January 10th. I declined going to shopping malls and sales altogether so I could avoid any panic stricken people returning gifts. And I decided to leave my tree up a little longer so I didn't have to see all the sad trees in the trash at once. In fact, I decided to do the opposite on most everything, and here's what happened: I felt happier and more hopeful about most everything—especially the world.
So here are a few things I can recommend that will at least make a dent into the dreaded January Blues:
1. Turn off the TV, and Take a Walk Instead
It is so tempting and so easy to fall onto a comfortable couch, grab a blanket and let the box entertain you for a while, but a walk will make a bigger difference in the day. I know, I know—it's cold outside. But, this time of year, there are too many advertisers lecturing us on all the work we need to do—right now. Exercise equipment to get, right now. Life insurance policies to get—right now. Diets to go on—right now. There are count down clocks for special deals and the pressure is on to become the person the world thinks you should be. It's more stressful than you realize. Give yourself a break this year and ease into the new year—wait till next month.
* Call a friend, plan a play date and get something on the calendar this week.
* Make something really good for dinner. Maybe scalloped potatoes with ham.
* Go take a walk, which is the answer to most everything.
2. Give Something to Charity
As you make room for new mugs that you got for the holidays, instead of just adding them to last year's collection—take the old collection of mugs, or socks, or pajamas or whatever, to charity—it feels good to clean house and to recycle items. Everybody wins. There will be somebody out there who really needs whatever you give, and you could really use the extra room in a cabinet or drawer. In fact, clutter wears you down somehow—time to declutter. Do you really need all those cute dessert plates? All those running shoes? Make some room in your home and in your mind for new things to come in and you will feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
* For everything you give away, something good happens for more than just you.
3. Make A Small and Simple Change
Nothing too big—just something that makes you feel alive. Not to be confused with a resolution, which is a promise to do something differently, like to stop smoking, or swearing or take up jogging—I suggest avoiding these kind of big changes in January. No, a simple change is much easier to accomplish. Maybe it's a hair style change? This January I straightened my hair. It's a silly change, but I feel especially pretty with my new hair. I also changed my shampoo and conditioner. So, I smell different too. And then I visited a very cool new store in town (Aesop) and bought new hand lotion for my chapped skin. I had always wanted to go into this beautiful organic store with shelves filled with simple products, and I just treated myself. I remember somebody telling me once that when you are feeling down, the best thing to do is treat yourself to something nice, and it doesn't need to be anything big, it can be as simple as taking a long bath with the phone turned off.
Try these things:
* A new hot drink. It could be a new and exotic tea. But serve it yourself in a cool cup, or maybe a pretty glass for a change. Or make hot chocolate with 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup half and half—it's different and it's incredible. Last night I had peppermint hot chocolate.
* Paint a wall—a single wall—in your house with one of 2016 newest pantone colors—you will feel very chic and brilliant as you explain this to your friends.
* Redecorate a room. And if you need help, consider a service. I came across a service called Room in a Box, where you go to the site, enter details about your room and few weeks later, a box comes in the mail with with a snapshot your new room, complete with illustrations, color and fabric samples and suggestions for everything from furniture to art—all from the design studio of Windsor Smith. What a great idea, and something very fun to think about in January.
There are 31 days in January, and they are long days too. As it turns out, these days can be the most peaceful days of the entire year—if you are able to not judge yourself in any way—just lower expectations for yourself. Once you given yourself the great gift of a January renewal, you will learn to crave it every year—and then think about making those positive bigger changes in February.
P.S. If you get stuck for ideas on how else to battle the January Blues or special products we have seen that are especially cheery, please let us know and we can send you a list of ideas that for your consideration. For a special winter scent, consider a Winter Spruce Room Diffuser from CAREBOX.com