Looking after yourself during January

By Nancy Kufort, 2nd year Psychology (MH) NTU student

January seems like possibly, one of the longest month in the year. With the end of all the celebrations and festivities, we go into the year not only potentially exhausted, but also holding this mindset that we have to change our whole lifestyle because of the new year.

It is so easy to get caught up with different goals we might have set for yourself, that can be quite unrealistic and difficult to maintain after the first month. With the stress of seeing everyone else on social media and comparing ourselves to these standards, it is easy to forget to just pace ourselves and take it easy.

With that said here are some of my tips that help me to look after myself during the month of January:

Spending time with family and friends

This can be easier said than done with being thrown back into your university timetable and any extra curricular activities that you have going on.
Taking time to speak to your family is a good way to remind you of your support system, people you can always lean on if things gets too much, and even to share the small victories that might happen.
With not seeing uni friends since December, it is good to catch up over some coffee, or even text and phone conversations. Talking about your holidays or your plans for the month is beneficial to connect with them, while also getting away from work.

Alone time

As good as it is to spend time with other people. I also personally value my alone time. Especially during this winter months when it seems like the weather has more of an effect on my wellbeing.
I have spent January doing things that excites me so that the month is more eventful, for example I’ve read more, went to a meal, spent time to improve my physical wellbeing and also having more self-care days, to name a few.
All this allows me to look after myself and fuel my energy during this tough month, a gentle reminder to not neglect myself.

Breaks

When coming back into university work, we can become stressed for a number of reasons. I’ve found it easier to set a time everyday which I’ve elected as my cut off time, this can vary depending on your workload or timetable, but mine is 7pm. As soon as that time comes, I shut off my laptop, no matter if I have finished what I was doing or not, this prevents me from continuing to work into the night and becoming restless.
Doing something straight after to signify your cut off, will build a routine and allow your brain to sign off from doing work, I shower straight after this and take time to do my skincare routine, which relaxes me and gets me ready for the evening, for others this could be having a meal, or going on a walk. Whatever it is that allows you to relax and forget about the work you’ve been doing all day.


Goals

The famous New years resolution and ‘ New Year, New Me’ outlook. I do not mean this. It is great to set goals and wanting to be ‘that person’ but focusing on being the current you, reading this write now. I’m sure this is similar to most people but I usually feel pressured to write so many goals that I end up forgetting about them after the second week in January, which makes me feel worse because I did not complete them.
For setting goals, I have picked one main thing that will make the biggest difference in my life, and that I know I can work towards everyday. This means that I have now taken up journaling to help me reach this goal, this is helpful if your focus is mindfulness or happiness. When I gave myself the time to do this I was shocked by how much I could write!

A summary on improving January blues

1. Spend time with family and friends
2. Have some alone time
3. Breaks, set a cut off time
4. Set one main goal you can work towards everyday

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.



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