Happy Mindful Monday, friends! We’ve made it through our first week of 2017! Yay us! We’ve wound down the holiday season and kicked off this new year with a huge bang! As this momentum wears off, and we move back to normalcy and our safe and steady routines, we segue into the real JANUARY – long, dark nights; cold, dreary days; post-Christmas blues and the “letdown” from the newness of it all.
Things don’t seem as shiny and exciting. The reality of this long, cold month really begins to set in. I hear so many friends and yoga students complaining of lethargy, grumpiness, stress, low-energy, insomnia, sluggishness … yup, there it is the January Blues! And when we are feeling low and rundown and uninspired, our immune systems are compromised, and it is very likely those suffering from the blues will catch a bad cold or even the flu.
Well, I have to ask … didn’t you feel this way last year as well? I know I did! And it’s no wonder! I’ve been eating and drinking like a rock star for at least the past month! Oftentimes we do this to ourselves! What goes in, must always come out.
So what are some ways to beat the blues?
- Practice POSITIVITY! As soon as you hear yourself go into autopilot to bitch about how cold it is, just remind yourself, “Well, no duh! it’s January in the Midwest; there’s really no surprise there!” When I used to teach 6 a.m. sculpt classes, I would try to appreciate the stillness and beauty of those 4:30 a.m. mornings rather than the earliness of the hour or the temperature outside. Many days it took some work as I struggled to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, but as it slowly became habitual, (no pun intended there) it was easier and easier!
- Practice GRATITUDE! While that may seem like a trite phrase that every single yoga teacher on this planet throws around, it truly is such a huge key to finding contentment and happiness! When we focus on all of the blessings we do have, there is that much less time to complain about what is lacking or what we don’t have! Even though it may be freezing outside, can we appreciate the sun as it shines? Or the fact that we are not sleeping outside in the cold weather as many do!
- Speak only of HEALTH, WELLNESS and PROSPERITY. What we speak out loud tends to manifest itself! We all know those chronic complainers who talk about how sick and tired they are all the time, and guess what? They are constantly sick and tired all the time!
- Surround yourself with positive, happy people! You know where you can find a lot of them? Yup, you guessed it – at a yoga studio! Or a health club. Or any other place where people gather to FEEL GOOD. And nothing feels better than shutting your crazy brain off for an hour and MOVING YOUR BODY! We won’t even talk about all the feel-good hormones that are released that instantly lift your mood! Just think of it as MAGIC.
- SLOW DOWN. Take your cues from NATURE. Many parts of nature are DORMANT during this time. Don’t feel guilty about hibernating on your sofa for an evening or even an entire weekend doing something to soothe your soul! Binge watch your favorite show! Or find a new one – I have some recommendations, if you’re looking for a new one! Inbox me.
- January is the perfect time for a DETOX or a CLEANSE. Find something to PURGE. You can clean up your diet. You can tap out of social media for a few days. You can clean out your kitchen cupboards and pare down to the essentials. The daily DECREASE of STUFF is so good for the mind and spirit as well as the body.
- Focus on OTHERS. Be very cognizant of those who seem to be in a January funk – reach out to those persons and help to lift their spirits! Surprise them with one of your YBD guest passes! Or buy a random stranger a cup of coffee or pay for their meal. Help out at a homeless shelter or your local food pantry.
Let’s remember the concept of ANNICA – the impermanence of all things in LIFE. The weather; our desires and temptations; feelings, thoughts, emotions; circumstances and conditions are all subject to rising and falling. This thought allows us to maintain an equanimity of mind knowing that soon things are bound to shift. Let’s learn to enjoy each fleeting moment, including the cold and dark ones, for they remind us that we are blessed with life and with breath.
Annica! Annica! Annica! Be happy, my friends!