So Christmas is over, and although I know that can bring a big sense of relief in many ways, it also tends to come with a bit of a comedown – physically, emotionally and mentally. So what do you do with that?
How do you pick yourself up when the January back to work blues are ahead, you’ve put on a few more extra pounds than you’d intended and your bank balance is determined to keep you indoors for the next month?
Let me start by asking you not to panic… January doesn’t have to be a month of misery, there are plenty of ways to pick yourself back up when you’re feeling low.
So without further ado here are my top ten ways to pick yourself up when the post-holiday blues are looming large:
1. Do what makes your heart sing
I could write list 100 things that pick me up when I’m feeling bad; walking with my beautiful dog, writing, or curling up with a good book are my go to favourites; but the truth is that none of those things might have the same effect on you.
One of the best ways to pick yourself up when you’re feeling low is by doing whatever makes your heart sing.
You know the things I mean – the ones that never fail to leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and good about yourself. Whatever it is that does that for you do it!
Do the thing that makes you feel like you and sets your soul alight, and see how much it lights your mood up too.
2. Get out in nature
There is nothing better to ground us and re-connect us to ourselves than getting out there and being amongst nature.
Wherever you are and however you can, take yourself out to sit by the sea, hug a tree or climb a mountain.
Hell, if you’re in the northern hemisphere like me and can’t bear to be out in the cold (although I’d seriously encourage a bundled up winter walk – they are absolutely my favourite!) then take a salt water bath or light a candle and spend some time gazing into the flame.
Reconnecting with nature and those building blocks that make our world has a tendency to bring you right back home to yourself and to what’s really important in life.
3. Connect to someone who makes your world a better place
I’m a firm believer in having time on my own. But even I know that can sometimes be counterproductive to boosting your mood.
But be it a friend, a family member or someone you know in passing, we all have those people whose presence just lights us up and makes us feel great.
So whoever your people are, when you’re feeling low reach out to them.
I know sometimes when you’re feeling low there’s a worry that you’ll bring other people down but honestly, we almost always feel worse inside of our heads than we appear to the outer world. And the people we love have a wonderful habit of being able to pick us up on days like that and leave us feeling far far better than they found us.
4. Do something good for someone else
Why do we do good things for other people? Of course because we care, because we know that we’re all connected, because we believe in karma and a zillion other reasons. But honestly? Also because it feels good.
You know what I mean, that little buzz of satisfaction that comes when you donate to charity or spend time volunteering. It’s totally natural and we all do it – it’s nothing to feel bad about.
So while money might be too tight for a huge charity donation after the holidays, there are plenty of ways to do good for someone else and pick yourself up in the process…
Register for some volunteering, call a friend you know is struggling, or even empty out your cupboards and donate anything you won’t use, wear or eat to an organisation who can share it: a positive clear out of your space and an act of goodwill all in one!
5. Tune into what you need
You’re feeling shitty right now I know, and why is that? What do you need?
I’m not talking about the great big cash injection, the ability to fit straight into your pre-Christmas jeans, or the holiday to somewhere warm and sunny (although booking a holiday is always a good pick me up!).
I mean the things that you really need to make you feel better right now – maybe it’s a trip out into the world and connection with other people; maybe the time away from work has left your brain feeling a little bored; or maybe it’s the opposite and you desperate need to stop and completely chill out but are so busy rushing around that you’ve forgotten how to do that.
Whatever it is take some time out to think - or maybe to journal if you’re like me and do your best thinking with a pen in hand – about what you really and truly need right now. Then go ahead and give it to yourself.
So often we’re told that we cannot stop, that taking a real break is lazy, boring or useless.
In truth that approach to life is the one that leaves us feeling burned out and incapable of doing much of anything well.
We need rest. And not just an early night or a lie in but proper, proper rest.
Take a day to chill out in whatever way works for you: lie in bed with a book, curl up on the sofa and have a movie marathon, drift in and out of sleep for as long as you need, just rest.
And what’s more, know that doing just that will not only help you feel better right now, it will also mean you head back into the rest of the world in a better place for anything and everything you need to do and be.
7. Take some action
I know, this point sounds totally counterproductive to the last one, but hear me out…
Often when we start to feel down in the dumps one of the biggest reasons is the feeling of absolute powerlessness. Our lives feel like they’re out of our control in some way and we just don’t feel capable of taking that power back.
If that’s where your head’s at then I am telling you right now to stop.
You always have the power to change your life for the better as and when you want to, it’s just down to taking action.
Now I know Boxing Day does not feel like a day to take action, and that’s OK. So instead set yourself a plan for tomorrow to do something that will make you feel more in control and put you back on the path to where you want to be.
Is there anything more guaranteed to make you smile than sticking on your favourite song and dancing about your house like a crazy person?
The answer is no.
So just go and do it.
Do not look in the mirror, do not give a single shit what you look like, just dance.
Meditating is a popular self help tool for a reason, because it works. Spend some time turning inwards and focusing on your breath and on just being, without the stress and worry of your daily thoughts and it will help you to feel more like yourself.
If you’re not sure where to start then just get yourself comfortable, set a timer for five or ten minutes (or as long as you want, there’s no limits) and start by focusing deeply on your breath. Follow your breath in and out and concentrate your mind on that and that alone. Other thoughts will come and go – let them – but just keep coming back to that breath.
Or, if you’re struggling with that then head over to YouTube. There are hundreds of great guided meditations on there, just search for whatever floats your boat and let yourself drift away.
10. Get grateful
And lastly my favourite; so much so that I wrote an entire post about it this time last week.
Get grateful! Write yourself a list of all the things you have to be grateful for right now, today, this week, this month and this year. Keep listing for as long as it takes to help you start to perk up a little and feel more like yourself.
Then carry that experience forward with you into the rest of your day and week to help you stay positive when things start to feel a little dull.
Want to know more? Check out last week’s post on gratitude.
And if they aren't working...
All of that said, of course there are times when the odd little pick me up isn’t enough to make you feel better.
If you’re feeling that way then please seek out some professional help to get you back to yourself – everyone deserves to enjoy life, even when it’s cold and dark outside!
There are stacks of great counsellors, healers and therapists out there who will be more than willing to work with you and help you get back on track.
And of course, there’s me too! If you’re interested in working with me then click here to find out more.