Blue Monday? January 15th. Apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year. We don’t think so! Here’s how to have a wonderful January…

So, Christmas has come and gone, and now we’re facing January. Hello bigger waist-lines, hello smaller bank balances, and hello bigger credit card debt! On top of that, throw in freezing cold weather, dark nights, and a severe lack of social life (well nobody can afford to go out now, can they?!) and you have all of the ingredients for a spectacular ‘Blue Monday’.

Blue Monday is January 15th, and has been hailed as been the most depressing day of the year, due to the fact that it is around this time of the month that we really feel the financial after-effects of over-indulging over Christmas.

And it’s not just the issue of money that can start to get to us (although I will come back to that shortly), it’s around this time in January that most of us realise that we’re not exactly sticking to ‘those resolutions’. Add that to a lack of funds, a lack of food in the fridge and dark nights in front of the telly and it’s no wonder that some of us can start to feel… negative.

I’m Christopher Paul Jones, Harley Street therapist, and here is my mini survival guide, that shows YOU, how to turn Blue Monday (and January in general) to your advantage.

Use this as a time to really address things

Rather than getting down about a lack of money, use this as a time to sit down and work out your weekly and monthly budget. Start the year as you mean to go on, and factor in putting aside a little each month, so that next Christmas you won’t overdo things.

If your weight is your issue, then set some realistic goals about looking into healthy eating. Don’t start another diet that you probably won’t stick to. Make small, but significant changes, such as adding in more water daily, and increasing fruit and vegetables.

Turn yourself into your own life coach, and make January the month where you really take a long hard look at your life, and do your best to improve things. All that life planning and you won’t have time to think about being miserable. Actually dedicate some time to thinking through changes that will have a long term impact. Resolutions are all well and good, but how many of us stick to them?

Turn your home into a winter retreat

Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that January will probably be depressing and look proactively at ways to combat it. My advice, is to just try and have some fun with this.

Turn your home into a winter retreat – it doesn’t have to cost a lot but the end result can be really effective and have a big impact on your mind-set.

Stock up on hearty vegetable soups, have a go at making them yourself, and freezing them in bulk. This will not only help you feel healthier (and shed some pounds after Christmas) but it is also great on the bank balance.

Create some daily rituals – turn that afternoon sandwich and cuppa into ‘afternoon tea’ – think, finger sandwiches and a pot of tea, sitting by the fire. In the evening, enjoy a candle-lit bath, add some lavender oil to the water to lift your mood, and make real hot chocolate before bed.

Stock up on your favourite films, books, magazines, start that book that you’ve always said you want to write, turn your hand to painting or poetry.

Actively use January as the month to find yourself, and you’ll find that you come out of it stronger.

Remind yourself that you’re in control of things

It might not feel like it, when you get that credit card bill, or you find yourself unable to do your favourite pair of jeans up – but keep reminding yourself that you are the one in control of things. YOU decide to choose water over wine, to choose veggie soup over chocolate…

If you find your mind getting the better of you, then try this simple grounding exercise: Stand with your feet planted firmly to the ground, feel the energy flow through you, close your eyes and say to yourself ‘I am totally in control of things’. Take a deep breath in, and then let it out again, open your eyes, look around you, and say to yourself again ‘I am totally in control of things’.

A gentle reminder like this is really easy to remember to do (and we want to make January as easy as possible), and works to interrupt a negative mind-set as soon as it starts to manifest.

Give yourself permission to have made a bit of a hash of things over Christmas. It’s okay, we’ve all done it, and try and go easy on yourself. Know, that this month can be the month where you finally decide to take control of things – from your finances to your diet.  January doesn’t have to be a dark period, it can be a month of candle-lit baths, hot chocolate and feel-good movies.

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