How to Overcome the January Blues

The festive season has come to an end, money is tight, and the workload is piling up: dreaded January has made its return. Typically, this month is one we seek to merely ‘get through’ as opposed to enjoy. We often forget to look after ourselves, staying up late to then getting up early, hoping that morning coffee will keep our eyes open. 

Although we cannot magic up an extra hour in the day, we can all become better managers of our time. It is important to not overwhelm ourselves and cause a build-up of stress with numerous deadlines and commitments. Therefore, I would highly encourage using a planner (either a physical or online copy) or simply writing a daily list of things you would like to accomplish. Not only does it feel great to cross off a task but ensures you will not miss anything out. Planning your time for academic tasks enables you to spend more time on yourself, maybe even place the two categories on the same list as it is important to create a balance between them. Simple things, like keeping your timetable on your phone can make all the difference. Another option that some recommend is a habit or sleep tracker, both of which helps you to establish new routines and maintain them.  

Maintaining motivation is always a tough task, however, there are many revision techniques and general suggestions we can take to alleviate this mental pressure. Some may have heard of the Pomodoro study technique but may be yet to give it a go. This is a method that simply breaks up your workload in time chunks of 25minutes working then 5 minutes taking a break, a cycle which can then simply be repeated. Though many may look to work for an hour straight, dividing your time can give your mind a much-needed rest as well as give you something to look forward to. In that break perhaps you’re going to make your favourite snack or jam out to a favourite song, the choice is yours. Although it initially seems like a basic technique, in rewarding oneself along the way, we are essentially conditioning ourselves to work harder and for longer. 

Now, once we have worked out how to make our days more efficient and create time for ourselves, we can work out how exactly we want to spend these hours. As a month in which most days end with walking home in the dark and start by waking up in darkness, it is important to get time in daylight-for that much needed vitamin D boost. You could take a walk with friends or take a short trip to one of the nearby beaches. A ticket to Exmouth costs only a few pounds (with a railcard) and gives you a much-appreciated change of scenery from that never-ending Pret queue. Whilst you’re there, you could read a book, chat alongside the waves, visit a café, grab an ice cream or, for that small percentage of you, brave the chill and go for a swim. 

Taking time to pick up a book is also a great way to spend some time off your screens. There are some wonderful classics out there as well as some award-winning recent novels (the future classics if you will). Remember that many popular TV shows or films have great novels behind them.  

The narrative of January suggests that we should create a new identity for ourselves, reinventing ourselves with unrealistic goals and aspirations. It is both stressful and pressurising. Let us instead abandon the idea of ‘new year new me’ and replace it with a promise to ourselves to prioritise self-care and give time to make January joyful again. 

– Anabel Costa-Ferreira

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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