Seeing my ‘year ago today’s’ this year has been a lot less fun than usual. Last year I had an amazing January. I was settled into my new school, was going out every weekend and had had an incredible start to the new year… It was a time where no one had even begun to envision the world we are living in currently. Therefore, when I see flashbacks of me dancing in room full of thirty, forty, fifty people, it can be quite saddening. I think we would all do anything for a chance of normality by now, to go back to the days where you could do what you wanted, when you wanted- life had no real restrictions. It is important to remember that if life was once like that, it will eventually return. Especially in my age group, we are missing out on important years of our lives, and it is heart-breaking, but at the end of the day, there is nothing we can do to change that. Try not to let external matters which are out of your control affect you too much, as life is all about adapting with what you have, even if that means zooming friends instead of clubbing for your 18th… January is known for its ‘blue’ feeling, and I’m sure this year will be extra hard for many. However, I have found that your mindset can help to change how you feel around this time of year, so I have put together some of my best tips on how to prevent yourself from falling for the ‘January Blues’.
1. Get outside!
From the 4th of January, Boris Johnson once again ordered the country to stay home. For many, this would have created a picture of the rest of the winter cooped up indoors and I admit I did feel a slight sense of dread. However, daily exercise still remains legal, and I urge everyone to take this to their advantage. Especially for my peers, it can seem very tempting to stay in bed all day, as that’s what ‘everyone’ appears to do. I promise you, getting fresh air everyday will make such a difference. Admittedly, like anything, it won’t solve all your problems, but a change of scenery and a break from whatever home life you face, will do you some good. If you are an athletic enthusiast, it’s a great way to work on your fitness, perhaps going for a run, cycle or even doing home workouts in the garden. Similarly, leaving the house for ‘exercise’ doesn’t mean you must be attempting a 5k everyday. Maybe go on a short walk as a way to take a break, or you could meet a friend for a walk if this is something that would encourage you to get out. Whatever your preferences, you’ll find something that works and I’m sure the more you get out, the bigger the improvement in your mind you’ll see.
2. Change your music taste!
This may sound extreme, but I promise it’s not as crazy as it sounds. I’m not suggesting an avid country listener suddenly becoming a heavy metal addict (unless you wanted to?), I’m talking more in terms of the ‘type’ of music, rather than genre. One bad habit I have is listening to ‘sad’ music. I could have had the best day of my life, yet I would still come home and choose to start blasting the songs most hard hitting to me. It just doesn’t make any sense, and I know that! Of course, sometimes the sadder songs are needed, but recently I’ve been much more cautious when choosing my tunes. I’ve been listening to songs that have a much more ‘feel good’ vibe, and it definitely has made a difference to my moods.
3. Get yourself ready!
Although I’m not one to spend a day in my pyjamas, with the way I can appear at home, I might as well do. Contrarily, I’m also not one to bother doing my hair or makeup properly everyday, as I take the opportunity of staying home to let my skin and hair breathe! However, I do recommend getting dressed everyday, as well as keeping up your usual hygiene routine that you would for school/ work. At the moment, I’m obsessed with wearing jewellery. Despite it being such a small thing, I find jewellery can make you feel so much more put together and, at least in my instance, makes me feel like I’ve put in some effort!
4. Read a book!
With days become more similar and dreary, reading is a great way to escape into another ‘world’ for a moment or two. Although I enjoy Netflix and films very much, it’s nice to take a step away from a screen and be able to indulge myself in a less ‘harsh’ way. At the moment, I’m reading a lot of Gothic fiction for my English Literature A level, so I don’t always end up imagining the nicest ‘worlds’, but it’s still amazing to be introduced to the fascinating settings, characters and stories themselves. Similarly, reading is a great hobby for those looking for new things to try over lockdown. It’s great for passing time, education and also conversation.
5. Keep in touch!
The word ‘zoom’ has probably become traumatic for many people this year. That being said, no matter how unappealing they may feel, it is so important to still remain in contact with friends and family. Even if you’re calling one person a week, try to still keep up with one another, as it is crucial to check in on others, as well as others checking on you. Although there’s not much to gossip about at the moment, just speaking to another person about things is rewarding, and I promise you won’t run out of things to speak about!
6. Work on your mindset!
With the extra time on some people’s hands, it’s a great time to work on yourself more than anything. Whether this is physically, mentally, socially or anything else you desire, the new year is a brilliant time to do so. It is never too early or late to start changing your mindset. My main changes have been prioritising myself, less self-criticism, less reliance on validation and not letting things out of my control affect me negatively. Improving your mindset is a difficult thing to do, and isn’t something that happens overnight, but the hardest step is starting and committing, so once you choose that you are half way there. You can read more about ‘self-love’ in my previous post.