Now that the festive holiday period is really over – even the sales are almost over, gah! – the cold hard reality of life hits us. I think I’ve been in a sort of denial mood for the last three weeks, thinking that the holiday cheer was still here. Well no it ain’t here anymore! Work, school, uni, you name it, is slowly sucking up your energy and the cold and grey-ish weather makes us feel like we want to cancel the day and go back to sleep. At least the days are starting to get slightly longer, bit by bit… So I have decided to share some of my all time feel-good ways to beat the January and February blues and stay calm, focussed and stress-free (or at least try!).
Declutter your space
I get really anxious and annoyed when the space I live in is messy. And I do tend to get messy quite a lot – this sometimes happens when you have a full time job and you get home drained and ready to go back to bed. But I try to make myself better at putting things back and tidying as I go. A little secret is to also give up on the things that you don’t use anymore – no matter how much you love that old pair of winter boots that your mum got you for Christmas five years ago and how comfy they are, if you haven’t worn them in two years, then for sure you won’t wear them again (this is what I always have to tell myself to be able to get rid of stuff that I don’t need – I have a really intense relationship with my stuff haha!). In addition to that, try to create a lot of storage space in your house so that you can put things away easily and just hide the stuff that you need but don’t want to be in the way. We luckily have a very spacious built-in closet at the moment where we shoved most of our things, but we bought a bed with storage underneath so that we can store stuff like bed linen and towels, hair dryers and all sorts. And for the living room, our coffee table also dubs as a storage crate where we sometimes keep a duvet and pillows – when we have people over as our sofa is also a bed – and most of the times we just keep games and books in there. Try adding some plants/flowers, some decorative objects and some candles and you’ll see how good you’ll feel in just no time!
Make a schedule
I think that lists and schedules are one’s best friends. I tend to make a lot of lists in my daily life (sometimes I forget I’ve made a list but oh well…). Lists keep me a bit more organised and help me budget a bit better in the months after the spending carnage. I’m not usually planning every waking minute of my day, but having a bit of a schedule keeps me going through the day, without time wasted and making sure that I get all my work done. I do waste time a lot, but I incorporate that in my litle schedule – that’s why I wake up at 6.45 instead of 7.00 – I have those extra 15 minutes to relax, enjoy my coffee and scroll through social media rather than being in a hurry to get out the door.
I also try to get enough sleep so I try to be in bed by 11.00 most of the time (I’m in bed by 8.00 but don’t tell anyone) so that I can get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. I used to be so good at going to bed late and wake up early but now I can’t do it anymore. I need to be properly rested to be able to face an 8 hour day spent in front of a screen at work. I also like sleep so I guess that’s why this works for me.
Remind yourself to have a break once in a while – read a few pages of a book that you like, do some breathing exercises, meditate, exercise or go for a short walk. This will relax both your body and mind, it will reduce stress levels and improve your mood and attention span so that you’re all set to go back to work. I always take about a minute every hour or so to focus on my breathing and try to get out and walking around at lunchtime to get my body back into motion and get the blood circulating. I’m not good at this exercising thing, but I do some yoga or online exercise routine as well to stretch my muscles.Whatever your preferred break pastime is, make sure not to overwork yourself – you’ll be much more efficient when you’re relaxed.
Beware of cold feet
As the weather at the moment is quite grim and cold, I try to make sure that the spaces around me are at the right temperature and that I dress appropriately for this weather (which can be very difficult sometimes – the key is all in layers!) – being too cold or too hot can distract you from your tasks. I try to keep warm and hydrated by drinking plenty of hot drinks and I love to vary these as much as I can. For those of you who follow me on social media or know me in real life, you know I love a good coffee or a gorgeous loose tea. I always try to have at least 3 different types of te in my drawers at work and at home. Green or black flower infused teas are my favourite (shoutout to rose tea and mandarin green tea!) and as a bonus, the theanine in it will keeps me alert for longer and it also provides plenty of antioxidants to help keep the flu away.
If you have the weekends free, use these to travel and discover new places. You don’t have to travel far, but get out of the house and enjoy the nature. Find hidden places, go to art galleries and museums, just go for a walk or a drive! Discover the little towns around you and search for gems – be it books, films, old records. You’ll fill your time with things that will bring you joy. And once you’ve done that, come back home and enjoy that book or film or have a little dance around to your new old record. Go meet new people, or old friends. Laugh, enjoy yourself. Discover – yourself and everything around you. I for one plan to discover the Cotswolds this spring as I’ve never actually been before, in all of my 5 years in the UK. And I’m really excited!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you stay positive through the cold winter months after the Christmas hype. It’s really something that gets me thinking every year. I’m always a bit down this time of the year but I try to gather up the forces to take on the new year with a positive mindset.
Sending positive vibes to all and wishing you a happy rest of Jan.