Keeping a float in January

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Originally published on my old blog ruby-rubes.blogspot.com

Since leaving home to attend university I’ve suffered the January blues. Straight after a month of celebrating, the dark gloomy days of January are known to cause people to feel very low. If you let it, this feeling can leave you lain in bed for the first two months of the year – binging on left over Christmas treats and drowning in despair. But it doesn’t have to be this way! The familiar feeling crept up on me last week and I found myself declining invites, neglecting my work and confining myself to a corner of my bed. This isn’t a great start to the year and certainly not how I wanted my 2018 to carry on, so this year instead of drowning completely I decided to take action.

Firstly, I went home. I’m really lucky to live only a few hours away from where I grew up and to have a wonderful family waiting for me and ready to spring into action if ever I need it.
For me, going home is the ultimate saviour and guaranteed to bring me back up to normal. But its a cure rather than a prevention and prevention is what I really needed to learn to I started to think of way to stop myself falling into these habits.

One of the main things I’ve done is decide to start exercising more. I’ve never really liked exercising, due to my only experience really being freezing cold P.E lessons where the ‘star’ athletes were chosen in the first week of year seven and everyone else was ignored from then onwards. P.E at my all girls school consisted of being shouted at endlessly by tea drinking teachers whilst we ran around in shorts trying not to get our teeth knocked out by frequent flying hockey balls. It was fair to say this was in no way fun. However, I have been getting more into fitness and decided to join my university gym at the start of this year. I really love it, it not only puts me in a great mood (hello endorphins) but also I find I’m too busy concentrating on what I’m doing to think about anything that’s bothering me.

Due to housing issues this year I also make sure I meet up with someone at least once a day. My flatmates spend most of their time back at home or in the library so if I’m not careful I can go a whole day without really seeing anyone (albeit lectures and seminars) and as I’m a people person this can make me feel very low. I try an meet a friend for coffee or lunch everyday and go round to others houses for film nights or out for drinks so I don’t spend much of my time alone in the flat. When you do feel low it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out but this just creates a negative circle which won’t go away unless you break it.

If no one is around though I try and make time for myself to do something nice. Instead of just wallowing and falling into a pit of just scrolling through social media, I created a small jar full of little things I can do which will perk me up. Most of them are just small gestures such as watching my favourite TV show or film, baking brownies or picking up the phone to call a friend. Luckily I have a really great family and friends who have stayed with me throughout my ups and downs and who know how to cheer me up hugely so just chatting to them is a great help.

Obviously, these are a few things you can do and everyone else has there own personal ways of coping but I think the most important thing if you’re feeling low is to force yourself out of the house, whether that be to the gym, to see friends or just for a little walk. Honestly, a simple change of scene is a great help.

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