Now that the (sometimes) crazy parts of the year are over, it’s easy to fall into the Mid-January blahs ( <—- don’t know if that’s a real term or not but I’m going with it! )
The blahs are when life feels a little lackluster, you feel a bit bored, or you get stuck in a rut. So, why is the back half of January often subdued and slightly depressing for so many people?
Well, we’re finally finished shouting “Happy New Year” at each other. Before that, Christmas happened, and before that it was whole Thanksgiving thing. The months of November through the middle of January are basically a blur of major holidays, for many people, at least.
And then comes the middle of January with nothing much to look forward to for the rest of the month.
And then comes the middle of January when most people start faltering in their New Year’s resolutions.
Plus, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, it’s pretty much the gray days of winter.
It’s easy to see where the middle of January blahs come in. Blah is right. BUT! There are a few simple, smart things you can do to contend with it and change your mood.
1. Be sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Get lots of rest, exercise a few times a week, and practice self-care. Although these things are important all the time, they’re especially crucial around this period.
Also, think back and notice how you’ve eaten lately. It’s hard to feel iffy if you’ve been eating fresh as much as possible.
2. Plan something fun.
Start planning your spring break, summer vacation or even a romantic Valentine’s weekend getaway. It’s never too early to start and give yourself something to look forward to.
3. Lighten up!
When it’s getting so dark so early, it’s easy to start slipping into a slightly melancholy mood. Fill your space with the warm glow of candles (either cotton-core-wicked real candles or battery operated ones!) to instantly give your home a cozy glow. The big plus to the battery operated ones, aside from avoiding the possible unhealthy respiratory side-effects of some candles, is that you can set them on a timer to come on and turn off automatically.
One of my favorite simple pleasures in this world is to be able to walk into our downstairs guest bathroom any evening and be greeted by the warm flicker of candles. It’s a bonus that I don’t have to think about it at all; I just recharge the batteries when they die. These are the ones I’ve used for the last year and they have a fully realistic flickering and are vanilla scented enough to softly scent our powder room:
If you’re blessed enough to have a fireplace, light it up in the evenings. When we bought our house in 2015, we were so excited to have a fireplace in the living room… until we tried it and discovered it’s a ventless gas fireplace. UGH.
So, we went and bought an electric fireplace for our bedroom to at least be able to have the ambiance in the evenings before bed. I was surprised at how inexpensive they’ve become! We mounted it on the wall and it’s something we use all the time, either with or without heat.
4. Challenge your mind.
Immerse yourself in learning something new.
May I suggest meditation? A new language? A new hobby? What have you always wanted to try? What’s something that’s been on your bucket list for a good while? Start a blog? Learn to cook? Go do that to refresh your brain!
5. Give yourself a break.
Seriously. It’s ok to stay in your PJs for the weekend and Netflix binge once in awhile. Make it a family lounge weekend. Bonus points for fuzzy pants & slippers.
OR- if lounging isn’t quite your style, do something for yourself just for the pure, unadulterated pleasure of it. Take an hour long bath, go out for a beautiful meal or volunteer at an animal shelter.
6. Freshen up your space.
I know, if you’re in the blahs, you probably don’t feel much like cleaning, right? So put on an audio book or some energizing music and just get started. Trust me; you’ll feel better afterward.
Clean your space and purge any belongings that you don’t need. Paint your main living space a fresh color or grab some throw pillow covers off Amazon that are insanely inexpensive to give the area a new look. Grab some new quirky decorating pieces or pop some fresh flowers in a vase.
7. Amp up your visualizations, gratitude practices, and affirmations.
This is probably my favorite snap-out-of-my-blahs secret! I have a journal that is solely for my visualization journaling, gratitude practices, affirmations, and mantras. Especially when I’m feeling a little bit down, I’ll spend 30minutes during or after breakfast to just put pen to paper.
I’ll write a few pages of gratitudes, affirmations or visualize where I want to be a month or a year from now. It’s a powerful process that also forces your brain to get off the blah-train and into a mode of thankfulness. Trust me, when you’re overflowing with gratitude in earnest, there’s no room for the blahs.
I use a bamboo cover blank book that says “shine brightly” but you should use a blank book or journal that feels special to you. If you’re one that would benefit from a little guidance while doing these exercises, there are some great guided gratitude journals available like the green one below. Add in a great quality glittery gen pen and you’re good to go.
Plan & act.
With a little planning and intentional action, it’s easy to minimize or avoid the mid-January blahs altogether. The key is recognizing when the rut happens and taking steps to turn your mood around quickly!