Combating Seasonal Blues

This time of year bears an abundance of stress and pressure – empty bank accounts, back to uni, early sunsets and the daunting prospect of another whole year ahead. We’re also loaded with the fresh opportunity to try and better ourselves interpersonally, professionally, romantically, spiritually…

After the somewhat therapeutic period of non-time between Christmas and New Year, when it’s socially acceptable to not know what day it is and have your first drink before midday, January catapults us back into a reality where everyone is attempting to become a ‘better’ person.

Although it could be the kick up the arse you need, don’t pressurise yourself. A new year can be a good reason to improve certain life aspects, but the ‘year’ is also conceptual and your time ahead isn’t dictated by all of your current decisions.

By Rahel Girma


Look after yourself

Through the cold, overdraft fees and impending feeling of existential uncertainty, it’s important to take care. Statistically, January is the most depressing time of year but it might not feel half as horrible if you’re kind to yourself. There’s always lurgies going around, so eat your greens, drink your ginger and don’t wear yourself out. You’ve got a whole year ahead! Don’t burnout in chapter one. Use this time to find a middle ground pace among the chaos of extremes that January so often holds.

List things you want to change/achieve

If you’re the organised type, you probably did this months ago, and if you’re not, it may sound ridiculously unappealing. However, you might find it useful to list mini aspirations to help get the ball rolling. Worst-case scenario: you have a reflective time doing it but never look at it again; best-case scenario: it works as a guide in aiding your coming growth! It’s important not to be harsh when writing resolutions or goals as you’ll only be more disheartened if they don’t manifest; so focus on achievable, positive ways to improve the quality of your life and others’. Nevertheless, make sure they still allow room for progress.


Do what makes you happy

Amidst the deadlines and long days, make time for things you enjoy. Spend Sunday binge-watching that series guilt-free. Read that book from last summer that’s still pristine. Start drawing again. Spend time with people that inspire you. Splash your spare pennies on a big night out. Do some exercise. Try to eat well, because good food equals good mood.

Don't feel bad about flaking

Whilst taking time for yourself, don’t feel bad about saying no to friends and family. The festive period can be very emotionally draining and however ideal it would be to be so full that we can give forever, sometimes a break is needed to recharge our capacity to be there for others. If they’re truly important they’ll understand. Don’t feel bad about flaking on yourself either. Aiming for a sugar-free month and had a biscuit? Oops. Doing dry-January and treated yourself to glass of wine? No biggie. Attempting Veganuary and forgot to ask for oat milk? It’s okay. No need for extremes or labels. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Have each other's backs

Winter takes its toll on everyone, so, where you can, try to move through the world with kindness. Check up on your nearest and dearest, send a catch-up text to that old friend when they cross your mind, buy a homeless person a coffee. It’s easy to blame those around you when it feels like nothing is going your way, but most people are just out here trying to live their best life scot-free too. You can’t control others’ actions, but you can control how you react to them. Still waiting for a Christmas package? Frustrating, but not the postman’s fault – be soft. Not enough work hours because business is quiet? Inconvenient, but not your manager’s fault. Do your best to also leave bitterness towards people in the archives of yesteryear. Ex’s new girlfriend? Old friend who did you wrong? Previous boss who overworked and underpaid? They’re not part of you anymore, don’t waste your precious energy carrying history’s bad vibes.

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