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Surviving the January Blues: Navigating the First Week Slump

It’s the first week of January 2024! Your social media feeds are full of people wishing each other a joyous, abundant and successful year ahead. There are posts about people’s fun New Year’s Eve celebrations, their 2023 achievements and their inspiration and vision for 2024!

It seems like everybody else has got it together, but you feel flat and unsure about the year ahead. 

We promise that you’re not alone! The first week of January can be a bumpy one following on from all of the December festivities, socialising and family time.

This week might be the first time you’ve had to really stop, rest and really consider what it is that you want for yourself for in the coming year. It might bring up feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration with your current situation and emotions and feelings that you have yet to release before you can move onwards and fully embrace the new year.

The Pressure of the ‘New Year’

There are so many cultural expectations surrounding the New Year, and it often creates pressure to start the new year on a high note.

The reality is that many of us are still completely exhausted and depleted from the previous year and haven’t really had the chance to recharge our batteries yet, which can lead to us feeling down and deflated. Add to that there is a great pressure to make plans and start acting on New Year’s resolutions and to be productive immediately after the holiday season has ended.

However, the reality is that for many of us it's hard to set and commit to new intentions and routines in January for the following reasons:

  • School aged children are on holidays until the end of January

  • Many people take holidays during January which can be great from a rest and relaxation perspective, but less conducive to starting off new routines or getting into healthy habits

  • Some people are already returning to work but are not really feeling truly rested or replenished after the busy festive season

Overcoming the Slump

An important first step in overcoming the ‘First Week of January Slump’ is acknowledging what is happening and why. It’s OK to feel down and unmotivated and to realise that ‘this too shall pass’.

However, below are some practical tips and strategies for helping you navigate the challenges of the first couple of weeks of the New Year.

  • Give yourself some time and space to rest: Don’t feel pressure to plan ahead for the whole year in these first few weeks of January. If it feels OK, set some realistic short-term goals to get you through this period rather than making overwhelming long-term resolutions.

  • Take this time to practice self–care and mindfulness: Taking some time to slow down, turn inwards and to focus on the present moment might bring you moments of clarity and creativity about how you see the rest of your year moving forward.

  • Gradually ease back into routines: Accept the fact that its unlikely that you will be able to fully return to your usual routines until mid January and even February. Do what you can to re-establish some of your routines but be gentle and kind if things don't easily fall into place.

  • Find joy in small accomplishments: It might feel frustrating that the slower pace of January and kids being on school holidays means that you can’t accomplish everything that you would like to do straight away. Instead, slow down and find joy in the small accomplishments that you make along the way. You might even have time to focus on things that you are too busy to make time for during the rest of the year, such as gardening, decluttering, being creative or even just sitting down and reading a book.

  • Seek support from friends, family or support groups:  If you're really feeling down (more than just the normal post-Xmas/NY blues) please don’t hesitate to reach out and seek support from friends or seek professional advice on how best to navigate your emotions. December can be a time of festivity and fun, but it can also be a time of loneliness, anxiety, stress and hardship for many. There's no need to start the year off feeling alone. There are many people out there who can help you through the hard times so don’t feel scared to reach out and ask for support.

  • Remember to practice self kindness and compassion: Try to take it easy and take the pressure off yourself right now. It’s understandable to feel a bit down or find the first few weeks of the year challenging, but generally these feelings are temporary and should pass.

We love the quote below by author Jacqueline Whitney.

You will figure things out, but it doesn’t have to be today or even tomorrow.

Just go with the flow, rest and relax for a little bit longer and see what comes up for you.

When you know you will know, and when you are ready to go, you will go!!

In fact, March could be the perfect month to find the inspiration that you're needing to move forward with your hopes and dreams for 2024.

If so, we’d love you to join us for our ‘Inspire ME’ Retreat which is taking place from 14 -17 March at Continental House, Hepburn.

Our end-of-summer retreat is designed to refocus your mind, reset your body and awaken your energy after the long holiday period and help you get the most out of the year ahead. You'll return home with a new spring in your step feeling motivated, focused, re-energised and inspired to live a happier and healthier life. 

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