Wednesday, 13 January 2010

My cures for the January blues

As much as I look forward to the fresh start a year represents it only takes a few weeks for me to realise that there is no such thing as new. There is always baggage. Your job and the rest of your life are still there waiting for you after Christmas. The things that you found annoying, irritating and downright unbearable did not vanish in a puff of glitter while you were eating vegan mince pies.

Furthermore you’ll have forgotten all the coping strategies that you had in place to get you through the day. You know, the routines that you abandoned sometime after Halloween on the grounds that the festive season was here.

So these are what I’m doing this January to remind me that there is more than the 9-5 grind.

They might not do it for you. You might not feel blue in January. But currently they are working for me.

Get out
Force yourself to leave your place of work every lunchtime. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Walk, breathe deeply, look around you, find out what’s down that side road you’ve always wondered about. Go out even if it’s snowing or raining. It breaks up your day, get your blood circulating and remind you that you are free.

Get a stack of books
Go to your nearest library and get a pile of books that you really like the look of. Some libraries are better at displaying tempting titles than others. If you really can’t find anything you like visit a bookshop, make a note of the titles they have on display that you fancy and then ask your library for them. Take your mound of books away and delight in the escape to other places that awaits you. Relish the excuse to wrap yourself up in a big blanket and read the long booze free evenings away. Congratulate yourself on what you’ve picked up for free. Make a note of the return date on your diary or calendar and pat yourself on the back for being well organised.

Shop with caution
Even if you are not overdrawn spending loads of cash on the sales will not make you feel less blue. If you are shopping for essentials in your lunch hour make a list and buy one item each day of the week. You’ll feel less inclined to throw all kinds of sale odds and ends into the basket. In fact, don’t even pick up a basket. You’re only buying one item. Why do you need a basket? Feel smug at not being sucked into buying yet more nonsense in the sales.

Start to plan ahead
Make a list of birthdays and other events over the coming year that will require presents and cards. Do one for next Christmas while you are at it. Make a note in your diary to check list at regular intervals. Begin to write in ideas for presents. Only buy presents that you spot in the sale if (a) they will not date and (b) you have storage space for them. While you’re at it plan meals and clothes for the next few days. Feel proud at your ability to take control of your life.

Whatever you are doing, focus totally on it. Don’t be tempted to put it off. Get it done and move on to the next thing. There’s nothing like a sense of completion to chip away at the blues.

Sleep well
I find that I sleep better if I do a few minutes of gentle yoga before bed. Nothing fancy. Some stretches, a roll down or two. If I still can’t sleep I make plans in my head or think positive thoughts. Or dig out some of that pulse point oil that you got for Christmas a year or two back, apply and breathe deeply.

Have an incentive for getting up
The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is knowing that I will be plunging my feet into be warm slipper boots and that I can have a chunk of Lush emotibomb in the shower if I think I really need it. Relish the though that you already know what you are going to wear and have the days meals already in hand.

I find that talking to friends even if it’s only to moan makes me feel so much better. It’s good to know that you have people who feel that same as you. It’s good to make plans for the future. It’s good to recall later in the day people you spoke with earlier and know that you are not alone on this planet.

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