In theory, January is supposed to be a clean slate and fresh start to the year. We should feel positive and upbeat about the new possibilities of the year ahead. Yet, many of us struggle with the January blues. Some of us feel down after riding the high of holiday festivities. Some of us must deal with paying off expensive holiday gifts and travel. Perhaps we overindulged in food and drink and gained a few pounds during the season. Plus, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, January features some of the coldest weather of the year.
Even if you’re only experiencing one of those things, it can lead to feeling low. But the January blues don’t have to last all month, or throughout the winter season. There are steps you can take to feel better quickly.
The first thing you want to do is pinpoint what is bothering you, why you’re feeling down. What specifically is making you anxious or stressed or sad? Once you know what’s behind your blues, you can start making plans and taking specific actions to address those concerns. Below are some ideas to deal with common causes of the January blues.
Did you overspend in 2023 or are you just worried about upcoming expenses in 2024? Are you concerned about managing your debt? Assessing your actual financial picture can help alleviate your anxious feelings about money. Take time now to review your budget, see what expenses you can trim back, and then make a plan to pay off your debt while the year is young and you have time to work on it.
If you're worried that you won't be there someday to care for a loved one, or if you just want to make sure they will be able to live a more secure lifestyle, consider adding a life insurance policy to your financial portfolio. Life insurance will increase your peace of mind and will help ensure everyone in your family is on more secure footing.
Did you overindulge in high-calorie meals and treats during the holidays? Perhaps you’ve gained some weight or you’re simply lacking the energy you need to get going. Start with writing down your health goals — perhaps you want to lose a specific amount of weight or maybe you want to run in your first 5K. There are actions you can take today to meet those goals. For example, you could join a running group (check out your local fitness store or Meetup.com for a group near you). Or maybe you want to live more healthfully by eliminating alcoholic beverages for a period of time. Think about the options available to you (both on- and offline) to see where you can make a start on feeling better about your physical health.
If you are struggling to stay positive and mentally healthy, you’ll need to find some good strategies that will help you cope. In general, having strong relationships helps lift your spirits. Perhaps you could add a New Year’s resolution to keep in touch with your friends on a regular basis. Or maybe you want to add a few social occasions to your calendar right now (for example, schedule a game night or a Sunday brunch). Another excellent strategy to raise your spirits is to volunteer to help others. The trick is finding things to look forward to so that you can be planning good times, rather than dwelling in less-exciting times that may be happening right now.
Whatever it is that’s getting you down, the best strategy is to start doing something to combat it. Once you take action, you will feel more empowered and better able to cope with the January blues.