Thursday 3 January 2019 11:14 am

Seven skills to help you beat the January blues

Follow Emma-Sue Prince
The run-up to Christmas is full of bonhomie, parties and cheer, but the weeks afterwards can often seem empty and dreary, with months of winter still to get through.

We’re all at risk of the blues, with that crucial third Monday of January – Blue Monday – being the worst day of all.

So here are seven skills that will help you beat those January blues and boost your happiness levels. Exercise them a little each day, and build them into your muscle memory.

1. Embrace the new

Being adaptable is all about saying “yes” to life and embracing change with grace and positivity – whether that’s being gracious about a last-minute change or accepting that something has not worked out as you wanted it to.

Being gracious is about how you word that email, how you express yourself to others. Trust me, when you respond to situations beyond your control with adaptability, you will have a much easier time.

2. Turn down the noise

By thinking critically, you are far less prone to making assumptions and quick judgements about things.

Your decision-making and problem-solving will improve, and you will be able to tap into your natural creativity.

Use this skill to take a closer look at how much you are using your smartphone, and to control the overload of information that we are all bombarded with each day. You will immediately feel less overwhelmed.

3. Listen up

Give all your relationships a big boost by practising empathy. Give others the gift of your attention by actively listening. This will give all your relationships, whether personal or professional, the X-factor.

This will require reflection, mindfulness, and the ability to look up from your smartphone on a regular basis. Mindfulness helps you be more present, calmer, and less reactive. It activates the parts of your brain that are naturally hard-wired to be empathetic. Winter is a perfect time for this kind of reflection.

4. Think about what you value

Integrity is something that you can build simply by living your life more aligned to your values.

Own your values to tap into true happiness. The new year is a great time to think about what you value most, and to what extent that is reflected in your day-to-day life and actions. If it’s not, change it.

5. Master the art of being grateful

Practising gratitude is strongly linked with happiness levels, because it gives us perspective and helps us to savour life’s positive experiences, even in the middle of a challenging time.

Start getting happier every day by writing down what you are grateful for. Build everyday joy in to your life in the form of little treats as simple as a delicious cup of tea, a bracing winter walk, or meeting up with an old friend.

6. Be present and proactive

When you’re proactive, you are back in control of your life. It isn’t about keeping New Year’s resolutions – they don’t work because they are too short-term.

People who are happy focus their energy and efforts only on things that are truly important and within their control, and they do this every single day.

7. Resolve to be resilient

Living with resilience is more than just bouncing back. It is about shifting our perceptions, changing our responses, and experiencing real growth.

The only thing that we really have control over is our ability to consciously change how we respond to whatever life throws at us.