January is a tough month: we’ve all enjoyed a cosy Christmas but now the decorations are down, it’s dark and cold and springtime seems forever away. However, January is also the month of beginnings, the start of the year and a great time to assess, re-balance and put our own happiness at the forefront for the rest of the year. With that in mind, we asked life coach and happiness expert, Jacqueline Hurst for some advice, “In the 15 years I have been working as a coach, January is by far the one month where people feel more ‘blue’ than usual. Long winter nights and cold weather can make any of us feel a little fed up but, if you know how to manage your mind, the January Blues can disappear.” Here’s how to stay positive…
1. Learn to switch off
The internet has many wonderful benefits, but it can also mean working 24-hours a day, being bombarded by news and in touch with friends and family constantly. Of course relationships are incredibly important for happiness, but make an effort to wrap up warm and visit those pals for meaningful face-to-face contact instead of relying on technology. And, as Jacqueline reminds us “taking time out to look after yourself is key during January. Use the winter nights to create a lovely routine of hot baths, candles, warm meals and snuggling up with your loved ones.” To ensure your home feels like a happy, warm sanctuary utilise the flickering light of aromatic scented candles. Choose a mood-boosting fragrance like Diptyque Roses with its spring-like, uplifting rose scent, or hunker down with the cosy Diptyque Feu de Bois, reminiscent of a crackling fire.
2. Find a good balance
Prioritise the things in life that are most important to you and look for ways to weight your life more heavily towards them. Even if it’s as simple as booking an extra yoga class each week or setting an alarm so you leave the office on time more often, small changes can make a big difference to your happiness. “Stop trying to be perfect,” says Jacqueline. “Perfect just does not exist. It makes us feel inferior and like we are not ‘good enough’, ever! You were not born to spend your life trying to reach unrealistic expectations. Start to own your uniqueness and speak kindly to yourself reminding yourself you are doing your best and your best is good enough.”
When it comes to your skin, balanced skin is happy skin, and a regular skincare regime will not only leave your complexion glowing, but has a happiness-boosting ritualistic aspect too. We love aromatic cleansing balms as they need to be massaged in and allow you to connect with both your skin and facial muscles. Try the classic Eve Lom Cleanser or Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm.
3. Take pleasure in small things
It’s important to look outside of our own busy life bubble and see the beauty in the world. Keep an eye out for new buds on the trees, a bird in flight, a gorgeous new display in a shop window. Listen to music, wear your favourite clothes, make a delicious meal, and revel in the pleasure of the little things in life. Fragrance can be an incredible mood lifter, so be liberal with your scent throughout January or choose a new blend. We like the modern, sensual lightweight floral of Byredo Rose of No Man’s Land. If you prefer a rich and spicy fragrance, try Malin+Goetz Dark Rum Eau de Parfum.
4. Get creative
Being creative is intrinsically human, and feeling free to express ourselves can help us to be happier. Forget about what that negative art or music teacher said decades ago, and try tapping into your natural creativity. We recommend Julia Cameron’s bestselling book The Artist’s Way, which details a 12-week programme to help anyone get on the path to being more creative.
Negative thoughts and feelings can derail our creativity and easily creep in during the darker months. To help with this, Jacqueline suggests trying to “get conscious: start to think about what you are thinking about and ask yourself ‘does this way of thinking work for or against me’. If you are thinking negatively you will ultimately get a negative outcome, if you start to think in a more positive way you will get a positive outcome.”
Changing your makeup is one small way to be more creative, so try choosing a new eyeshadow and applying it deep into the crease and below the lash line. We love the huge selection of gorgeous colours in Nars Love Game Eyeshadow Palette Man Ray Holiday Edition. If you already experiment with WOW eyes, then change it up and go for a bright lip instead. We love Rodin’s amazing orange-red Lipstick in Tough Tomato.
5. Enjoy fresh air and sunlight
Even in the depths of a rainy, cold and grey British winter fresh air can be a salve for the soul. Well known to have a reviving effect, being outside can lift our mood and enliven our skin. Vitamin D comes from sunlight and is well documented to have a positive effect on our feelings, so it’s important to enjoy reviving rays whenever the rare sun makes an appearance. January is also a great time for contemplation so head out for a walk and have a good, long think. Jacqueline suggests it could be time to “forgive yourself – no one needs to carry around guilt and shame, it zaps energy and creates negativity. Cut yourself some slack and remember that life is full of lessons to help us grow. We have to get things wrong to understand the right way.” Her tip “be kind to yourself, forgive yourself and move on.”
If the weather is just too ghastly to go out, then it might be time to run a reviving bath, try Ren Atlantic Kelp & Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil, which contains mood-boosting magnesium, or the uplifting essential oil blend, Inner Strength by Aromatherapy Associates. Mimic the skin-reviving effects of the fresh air with a glow-boosting face mask like Clark’s Botanicals Intense Radiance Mask or Patchology FlashMasque Illuminate, lie back and think about the joys of the year ahead.
Most of all, find a way to see light in the dark days of winter and enjoy a happier, healthier January in 2018.