We spend the last months of each year decorating, indulging, anticipating, and celebrating. It is no wonder that January brings with it a bit of the post-holiday funk. Behind us is fun and festivity and in front of us is responsibility and discipline—no thank you! If you notice yourself feeling a little more lethargic and unmotivated than usual, consider these three suggestions to get back on track and focused for the new year ahead.
1. Ease into the new year.
Who says that the New Year resolutions and goals have to start as the clock strikes midnight on January 1? It would be less painful and arguably more intentional to use the first 4 weeks of the year to transition into change. Instead of an overnight lifestyle shift, planning gradual change over the course of a few weeks would allow for an easier adjustment to a new exercise routine or eating plan. Mapping out a step-by-step plan, to be executed over time, could reduce burn out for those wanting to make lasting adjustments to their careers, relationships, or parenting. Moreover, you build momentum by focusing on one small change each week rather taking on a major life overhaul that leaves no room for fun or relaxation.
2. Plan something fun.
The holidays have passed, but that does not mean fun has to stop. Now is a perfect time to plan a mini-vacation, sign up for an interesting new class, or host a get-together with friends. A big reason we experience the post-holiday blues is that we have spent several months focused on fun activities and social interaction. Without a holiday to naturally organize events and socialization, we simply have to be more proactive. And do not let excuses like money or diets be a barrier—get creative! Invite a friend to spend a few weeks saving money and plan a day trip to a town neither of you have visited. Ask friends to meet for tea or coffee instead of drinks. Plan a social event around a new exercise class. Just because the time for moderation has returned does not mean we should eliminate pleasure and social connection from our lives.
3. Reframe the experience.
The most powerful technique you can have in your coping skill arsenal is the cognitive reframe. It is a simple skill that you can practice anywhere and apply to anything. The only equipment you need is your brain! To reframe an experience, begin by noticing how you are interpreting a given experience. Then decide if that interpretation is useful. If your way of thinking is problematic, challenge yourself to view the same experience from a different angle and apply new language. For example, the time after holidays is slow and quiet which could be viewed as sad and unexciting. This interpretation may leave you feeling uninspired, lethargic, and even a little depressed. To feel more motivated, adopt the reframe that this quiet and slow time is actually restful and restorative, lending itself to thoughtfulness and intentionality. By simply taking a new perspective and choosing a different interpretation, you are left with a more positive emotional state. Give it a try!
If you need more help moving out of our post-holiday funk, feel free to contact me!