Use these tips to get through Blue Monday, the most depressing day of year, and emerge from winter spiritually nourished.
Classically, the third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. This first month in general can be tough for many reasons. The holidays are over, which means we’re no longer busy celebrating with our friends, and this can bring boredom and loneliness. The holidays can be expensive, and we’re often now feeling the dent in our wallets.
We’re often a bit “hungover” throughout January; not only from indulging in too much booze and food in the previous months, but from too much family, too much partying, too much traveling, too much doing. Most of us go back to work in January, but that doesn’t mean we actually rested in December. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that put pressure on us to do things we may not enjoy, like restrict food or over-exercise, and this can actually lead us even further off balance.
Part of the reason we get so bummed out during January is because we don’t necessarily honor the normal rhythms of the natural world. We are on the other side of the solstice, which means the days are slowly lengthening, yet it can still feel like days will be this dark and bleak forever. It’s a pretty unhelpful and inconvenient time to be dieting or starting new projects. Rather, we should stay inside, rest, and focus on things like learning, dreaming, wishing, and setting intentions for what we’ll do when we actually feel daylight returning.
Aligning with the natural energies of January may help you feel better and avoid the bummer of Blue Monday. Here is your spiritual survival guide for January.
Lean Into It
If you feel slower in January, that’s because things are slower. Be slow. Lean into it. January was traditionally considered a lean time of year. Harvest stores would be getting thin, crops would not yet be sprouting, and the hunt would be still far from abundant. Thankfully, most of us don’t have to worry about a shortage of food at this time of year, but we can still focus on ingesting nourishing food, like broths, soups, and stews with local root vegetables, to keep warm and ensure our bodies have what they need to fight off seasonal illnesses.
Additionally, if not for our access to artificial light, we would likely be sleeping almost twice the amount we sleep in the summertime. So go to bed earlier, and take naps whenever possible.
Nourish the Hungry Spirit
January is a time of hunger. In addition to feeding our bodies, we need to make sure we are feeding our spirits. This is a vital time to ensure you are doing the things that light you up; activities that make you feel good and give your life meaning. To whatever degree it’s possible, make sure to schedule in the hobbies you enjoy, especially if they are creative in any way. A quick way to get sick is to work too much in January and not take time for things you enjoy.
The cold season is traditionally the time to gather in the warmth among our elders and learn from their wisdom. This might be an ideal month to sign up for a course (perhaps online and from the comfort of your home) to learn more about a topic you’re interested in.
Dream, Intend, Plan
The sun has begun to wax toward the summer solstice. The deep winter is a time for dreaming and wishing, but not necessarily doing. Once the sun has crossed the solstice threshold and begun to wax once more toward the summer solstice, we can begin to take action on our plans. Don’t go too big in January—there will be more energy to get things going in the springtime. But for now, get organized, prepare for your projects, and plan out what they are going to look like. Keep dreaming, wishing, and hoping, and start thinking about what you’ll be putting into action when the sun starts to warm the earth up again.