How to be more productive in January...
It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas cheer has died, and the hype of New Year is long gone, and now you’re faced with the dreaded lull of January.
It’s difficult, isn’t it? It’s stated that the third Monday in January, is the most depressing day of the year, hence the name ‘Blue Monday.’ There is a multitude of factors that can leave us feeling blue, including those dark gloomy starts, miserable English weather, the lingering pressure of New Year’s resolutions, and more.
Seasonal Depression (SAD) is a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, it can also be known as ‘winter depression’ as that’s when the symptoms tend to be more apparent. It is a lot more common than you think. Therefore, we thought we’d put together a handful of top tips to tackle the winter season for anyone struggling.
Tip One – Setting yourself unrealistic resolutions. You don’t need them!
Now it’s 2023, we are flooded with the pressure of entering a New Year with a huge list of Resolutions. Goals with the intention of changing our lives, and so on. Although this may seem a good idea to help you get back into the swing of things, there are downsides to New Year’s goals. Going into a New Year, you may feel ambitious setting unobtainable goals, therefore placing yourself in a position for disappointment or failure when you’re unable to fulfill your goal. If you want to change in your life, why not change when the time is right?
Life doesn’t automatically change on the 1st of January, and neither should you. Don’t feel the pressure from the outside world to create goals and resolutions unnecessarily, focus on yourself and do you. January is a difficult month as it is, cold, dark, damp, and dreary, be kind to yourself. Set the goal of being positive, don’t blow all your motivation in January, loosen the load, and don’t be so hard on yourself. If anything, go into the New Year with a fresh new attitude. If you’re wanting to set a goal, set a small, realistic one!
If you do still wish to set yourself goals you can achieve, there are many suggested ones that come with less pressure.
Tip Two- Don’t drain your Social Battery!
Our social calendars have never seen so many plans. Our social batteries go into overdrive during December. Year in and year out, a good percentage of us are guilty of forgetting to recharge. The aftermath of overindulging in food and paying a visit to every local bar and restaurant in the area has a direct impact on our mood, body, and productivity.
January comes around fast, and it hits like a ton of bricks! Perhaps you may find it hard to socialize now or to concentrate on tasks that you need to complete at work. This is normal. However, now is the time to tap back into reality.
Start by saying no to any suggested plans if you don’t feel up to them. Also, try to maintain (or get back!) a regular sleeping pattern, push back into work mode, and find your routine. Stay on track with your jobs or activities and create a plan for the month, this way you may find it more manageable to face each day. Listen to your body, when you’re tired at night, switch off your mobile phone, and recharged for the day ahead, take time to focus on self-care and you may find you develop a more positive mindset. Allowing yourself to feel a sense of positivity will rub off onto your peers, thus creating a warming atmosphere, especially within a working environment.
Tip Three- Less Social Media, more Sunlight!
Do you find yourself aimlessly scrolling down your social channels? Or refreshing pages waiting for something new? Why not get yourself outside? Take yourself for a long walk, embrace the winter sunlight, and appreciate your surroundings. Drag yourself away from virtual reality and put yourself in the real world, there are many informative articles that give suggestions on activities excluding phones. Vitamin D and sunlight are proven to increase happiness and serotine levels in your brain, therefore lack of this can do the direct opposite. You may find that adding time restrictions to your apps can help you control your social media usage, especially when you have more productive work to do. Try switching to 'do not disturb' or quiet mode however you feel is necessary, this can help the urge to check your notifications! There are instructions on how to check these restrictions for Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.
We’re currently still in the season of shorter days, and dark early nights, adding to the factors of ‘January Blues,’ so chase the sunlight and recognize the importance of it on your health. Not only this but a huge 20% of the oxygen you breathe in is used to allow your brain to function, which will help you think and concentrate better! So what's stopping you? If you work in an office environment, get out on your lunch break. It’s harder to motivate yourself once the clock strikes 5 o’clock, so squeeze some steps in with one of your work colleagues instead.
Tip Four- It’s okay to not be okay!
January blues are very normal, don’t beat yourself up for feeling down in the dumps, learn that it’s okay to not be okay. There are many biological reasonings as to why people feel down in January, and you’re not alone. There is enough pressure to lie day to day without adding extra to your workload and focus on yourself and your mental well-being. You may feel a sense of loneliness, the festive gatherings have come to an end, and that sense of Christmas joy has faded, but you aren’t by yourself. The New Year and Christmas excitement has finished, and we’re left with darkness and cold, no wonder anyone struggles in January!
Make sure you don’t withdraw yourself, pick up the phone, or message a friend. It’s okay not to be okay! There are many useful resources online that may be worth a read if you’re feeling down.
For additional support or guidance on how to deal with poor mental health, MIND charity has some great tips for everyday living.
Tip Five- Be grateful.
It’s so easy to fall down a hole when you’re feeling down or in an unhealthy mindset, but it’s so important to recognize what you have around you and be grateful. For every negative, there is always a positive you can focus on, no matter how small it may be. If you try to adapt to a positive mindset and adjust your mind to concentrate on the achievements in your life, rather than the downfalls, then this may boost your self-confidence. Perhaps you might want to read positive quotes every morning to begin your day or read books of motivation, all of which can help to sway your mind from focusing on the negatives.
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