Fighting the January blues

Fighting the January blues

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

A lot of people really dislike the month of March, but I dread January more. And January 2022 looks to be especially...January-esque. The holiday season is over, and with it goes the holiday spirit and cheer, blinking off like the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. Then there is the pressure to commit to personal resolutions, like new exercise regimes and clean eating. While I can be all about that in a more normal year, we are still in the throes of a pandemic and I just want to get to the spring with my family healthy and a smile on my face.

I know you may be tired of ideas motivating you to start a new hobby, learning a new language or making home improvements! But the reality is, we will be home more in January than we would like. I don’t know if I will have the mental capacity to take on transformative resolutions, but I’ll try to keep finding a little joy every day during this dark month.

Here are a few ideas for how we will try and fight off the January blues:

Keep the twinkly lights up a little longer. Just because the holidays are technically over doesn’t mean the rain, clouds and darkness go away in January. We can still use a little extra light, so keep up a few strands of lights that make December so bright.

Make a routine of daily walks. Whether it is for exercise, fresh air, a way to stretch your legs or to simply get away from screens, I never regret going on a walk. If you don’t have a (household) walking buddy, look for a new podcast series to start and make it part of your routine.

Revisit a favorite series or collection. In the fall, we made a tradition of watching a “Harry Potter” movie every Sunday night, making our way through all eight movies. While we started thinking it was a fine way to pass the time, we started to really look forward to our Sunday night dates with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Now I want to reread the books! Whether it’s movies, books or even a podcast series, create a simple tradition that can provide something to look forward to.

Organize a virtual standing happy hour. At the beginning of the pandemic, we started reconnecting with a lot of friends for various virtual get-togethers. Gather over coffee, tea, soup or wine—whatever it is, building a little group of people to start our 2022 can help keep us connected and socializing.

Start a new book. Are you in reading rut? Maybe not enjoying the book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for the last couple of months? Start a new one. Let go of the guilt of not finishing the book that is stopping you from reading and start something you are excited about!

Learn a new board game and establish a game night. I’ve never been a huge game person, but puzzles and board games definitely became more a part of our lives thanks to the pandemic. There are so many new games that I had never heard of! A few of our new favorites include Ticket to Ride, Lost Cities and Viticulture. (Wine enthusiasts out there, check out this last one!)

Change up dinner one night a week. Who is usually in charge of dinner in your house? What if the kids were in charge (with a little help from mom and dad) one night? I remember getting much more confident in the kitchen (and proud of our creations) when my sister and I were tasked with dinner one night a week over summer vacation. Another way to change it up is to seek out some new takeout options once a week (if takeout is available).

While I will take a break from the cookies and sweets and keep trying to exercise, my resolution for 2022 is going to be smaller and more adaptable, taking each January day at a time and finding the simple joys amidst all of the chaos.

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