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16 December 2017Last updated
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7 ways to beat the January blues

We’ve got some tips to help you kiss that new-year slump goodbye

Rebekah Heaney
29 Jan 2017 | 11:02 am

Christmas is long over and the excitement of welcoming in the New Year has started to fade. Now the dust has settled, is it all feeling a little...anticlimatic? Don't panic, we've got some practical, easy ways to stay positive this month:

1. Be easier on yourself

Be easier on yourself

It’s gotten to the final week of January and you’ve already fallen at the first hurdle. You couldn’t even go one month without ditching your three-times-a-week gym resolution or reinstating the Facebook account you deleted in the hope of curbing your obsessive social media habit. To which we say: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pretty much anyone who has achieved success experienced setbacks on their way, it doesn’t mean they packed the whole thing in and went home. Take a deep breath, give yourself a day or two, and try again. The great news is, you’ll probably find achieving your aims slightly easier the second (and third and fourth) time around because you won’t be starting from scratch.

2. Be realistic 

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…Having said this, the problem might be that you were a little too ambitious to begin with. Setting yourself the task to have learned another language, written a book and achieved a Khloe Kardashian level ‘revenge body’ by the time February rolls around may have sounded exciting, but you were likely setting yourself up to fail. There’s no shame in moving the goalposts if it means you actually reach a goal post rather than collapsing from overexertion halfway down the pitch. (Ok, our sports metaphors may need a little work here…)

3. Don’t let the calendar define you

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Here in the UAE we’re blessed with often balmy winter weather, so we’re much less likely to suffer from the Seasonal Affective Disorder that our friends and family in colder, wetter countries are experiencing. But even then all the talk of the post-New Year slump can get to you. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which we’re convinced that the first month of the year will be one hard slog full of holiday weight, depleted bank accounts and failing resolutions and so that’s all we end up focusing on. If we reset the switch and started thinking of January like every other month of the year we may just feel a little less effected by the doom and gloom.

4. Get out more

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We know that for many reasons this sounds like an awful idea. Money is low, we’re more insecure about our appearance than ever and we’re dreading people asking us how the resolutions are getting on - but it is absolutely proven that social interactions make us feel better. You don’t have to turn into a party animal for the month (and you probably went to enough festive parties last month to last you for, well, the year) but making the effort to grab a coffee with a friend you haven’t seen since the holiday break can generate a lot more good will to mankind than you’d think. Then you just might be able to tolerate that post-work office gathering the week after. Baby steps, people.

5. Find a new perspective

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As expats we tend to jet off to visit family for the holidays or take some time away, so returning home to the daily grind can feel kind of miserable. But now is the perfect moment to see where we live with new eyes. The UAE is hugely popular with people coming here on their own holidays for countless reasons - reasons that we’re quick to forget when running around completing life’s day-to-day admin. Whether it takes doing a typically touristy activity like going to the top of the Burj Khalifa, or even just taking a stroll along the new canal, it’s worth reminding ourselves of our unique location and all it has to offer.

6. Reminisce

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Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened…or something to that effect. It might seem counter-productive to dwell on all the good times we had in the festive period; visiting family and friends, acting out beloved traditions and the general cheer associated with the end of the year can seem far, far away. But like Harry Potter and his patronus*, banish the dark doldrums of January by conjuring up a joyful memory from the recent months. The happiness value of good experiences doesn’t have to expire the moment the decorations are taken down or the confetti cleared and calling upon them at a dreary moment can be surprisingly uplifting – they will, after all, be eventually coming round again this year.

*Prisoner of Azkaban, in case you were wondering

7. Plan ahead

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Honestly, it’s never too early to start planning the next big thing to look forward to. It can be a friend’s birthday or your own, a short staycation or the trip of a life time. These challenging 31 days will fly by if you’re too busy thinking about the fabulous year you’re going to have to notice them.

Photos by istock

Rebekah Heaney

Rebekah Heaney