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Getting Through the January Slump

23 January 2023

The January Blues are absolutely a real thing – going back to work, uni, whatever it is, after Christmas is tough. Between the buzz of Christmas being over so quickly, and the impending fear of exams in the distance, getting back into the swing of things in January can be difficult for a lot of people, but there are ways to break through the grey cloud of post-Christmas gloom and take this opportunity to re-start routine and get through the month feeling positive. Let’s dive into some!

The Pressure of ‘Starting Fresh’

For many people, including myself, the pressure of January is a lot. Although I enjoy the idea of a fresh start and a reset, the overwhelming feeling of having to immediately reinvent myself or start being productive at 8am on the first day of the new year can be a bit much. Realistically, most people spend the first few days, if not weeks, re-adjusting to the work/study-life balance and trying to get back on top of things. Even if TikTok and Instagram is telling you that you should be starting new habits and making big changes, it’s okay to take some time to ease yourself back into things. This applies to uni as well, and I know the workload can feel overwhelming during the first few weeks back after Christmas, but you have time! Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to do too much and accept that it’s okay to take it easy and prioritise time for yourself.

Organising, but make it fun!

As many people like to emphasise, January is a good time to organise. Like I said, you don’t have to feel pressured to plan your whole year and know exactly what you will be doing, but simply writing things down is a good place to start. After the Christmas holidays, it can feel like you have been thrown off your routine and it can be a struggle to get back into it. Treat yourself to a new diary or planner, and start off by writing down any big deadlines, events or plans that you have coming up. The prospect of the semester ahead can feel daunting but breaking it down and putting everything on paper can help clear your head and organise your thoughts.

Make plans, and take time for yourself

Finally, January is all about balance. It can feel lonely at times after the hustle and bustle of Christmas, so try and make plans with friends, family, or whoever you like. Having people to turn to for a chat can make all the difference, but just as important is taking time for yourself. Tidy your room, meditate, have a self-care evening, watch something on Netflix, eat some good food – whatever makes you feel happy.

Bonus points if you can get outdoors; take a walk, breathe in some fresh air, get your body moving. You’ve heard it a million times, but it really does help to get out the house and see the world. If you feel like it, maybe start something new and begin a new exercise regime or try and get those 10,000 steps a day. As a city abundant in green spaces, there are plenty of great spots for walking or running around Cardiff; Bute Park, Roath Park, and the Bay are all perfect for getting out and being in nature (and if you feel like it, treat yourself to a coffee from Terra Nova café in Roath or Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute while you’re there). Taking time for yourself is so important, and a good way to reset before the new semester starts.

January can be a difficult month, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible. There are reasons to feel positive during this time and ways to make it easier, but even if you’re simply getting through the month, that is enough. And hey, the nights are getting lighter, and summer (and the end of exams) is just around the corner!