Post-Christmas Blues

It’s a strange time of year, isn’t it? It no longer seems acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, even though a couple of weeks ago it was perfectly okay. Everyone’s turning to healthy recipes and weight loss programmes that will no doubt be long forgotten come February. We’re hounded with media telling us to reinvent ourselves in the new year; last month we were encouraged to overindulge. We’re bombarded by sales promotions even though we’ve overspent for months before. It’s hard to concentrate on anything as the festive season has been and gone and reality has returned. Lay-ins and sofa-days seem so far away, instead we must get up and out, trudging through the rain rather than pulling the duvet over our head for an extra ‘five’ minutes.

Anyway, that’s enough dwelling, I just wanted to ensure you you’re not the only one feeling down, in the pits of January-Blues. Let’s think about how we can make the transition into the new year as smooth sailing as possible. 

Look at January as an opportunity; an opportunity to get back into routine, back to being productive, and feeling accomplished after a period off track. Make dates with friends for coffee, walks or study sessions to break the week up, whilst having something to look forward to that fits with typical new year’s resolutions. Appreciate the nights in and feeling fresh on a Sunday morning. Write down a list of things you have planned to look forward to this year –– a trip away, a night out with friends, brunch dates, or birthdays (they’ll come around soon enough). Write lists of things you need to do and tick them off as you go along (I promise you there is nothing more satisfying!).

Look at it this way: we are another month closer to summer, to light evenings, sunny mornings, and warm weather (hopefully). Our whole year is still unopened and we have the opportunity to paint it as we like. And, judging by how quick the last seemed to go, the festive season will be upon us once again in no time.

By Eve Davies

With the festivities and excitement of Christmas and the new year over, seeming to have flown by, the start of January can be a strange and unsettling time for most people, particularly students.

 Coming back to Uni after spending Christmas at home is an abrupt change. Suddenly, you once again need to be independent and get back into a routine, especially with assignment due dates or exams looming. As well as this, the incentive for a fresh start and a change in lifestyle, which comes with the making of new year’s resolutions, can create an overwhelming pressure to feel like you should be at peak productivity and constantly bettering yourself.

 The plastering of the ‘new year, new me’ mentality, all over both traditional and social media promotes the idea that if you aren’t taking January as the time to be frantically going to the gym and eating ridiculously healthy, then you aren’t achieving the best version of you – an extremely toxic mentality.

It is important to remember, despite all these messages of self-improvement and fulfilment, to take the new year at your own pace and not compare your achievements to those of others. January should be a time to reflect on the year that has passed, not to force unsustainable goals upon yourself, and instead to focus on mental wellbeing.

Regarding entering back into a routine, setting small goals can be useful as a way to combat feeling unproductive. For example, a time you aim to be up and out of bed every day, and providing yourself with small rewards for doing a certain amount of work. Even though stress may be peak at this time, having a break from studying is crucial to staying positive. Don’t forget to allow yourself to relax, still taking the time to do the things you enjoy this month, and realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The new year has just begun, and whilst right now that may feel daunting, think instead of the endless opportunities it presents; to meet new people, to have new experiences and to make 2022 your year.  

By Lydia Tomkinson

Image courtesy of Siora Photography via Unsplash