Fighting for good mental health in (UGH) January

The Christmas season has its own set of stresses and depressing points days weeks, but sometimes January can kick you in the crotch, too.

Judging from (A) my social media feeds, and (B) the real-life humans I interact with (mostly at the school bus stop because, hello, HERMIT GIRL), it seems there are two key ways to approach January …

Option 1: Yayyyy new year, new goals, gonna take on the world, yaaaaaas.

Option 2: January is bleak and so is my spirit, kinda.

2018 has NOT gotten off to a great start for our family, and there is something shitty about a “fresh new year” that starts off badly. It feels like a rip-off.

My mental health has been taking hits, so today’s post is all about REAL THINGS you can ACTUALLY DO if you’re feeling similarly during this cold, dark, uninspired month called January …

1. Eat the frog.

If you find yourself feeling sad, tired, disinterested, bored, etc. when you’re trying to tackle something you NEED to do (i.e. work), eat the frog. It’s a business expression (I think?) that means to do the worst stuff first.

GET IT OVER WITH. PLOW THROUGH. Do what needs to be done in the least appealing order, and you will feel better — even if it’s just a teensy bit better.

2. Do a chore.

Wait — is that a typo, Heather? Chores aren’t fun! Hear me out …

Don’t underestimate the power of doing something around the house that’s going to boost your mood AND make you feel productive. I worked my butt off the other night clearing up my home office, and now when I walk into the room, I feel an amazing sense of peace. I did the same thing with our bedroom over the weekend (buh-bye, massive pile of clothes on my dresser) and it helped a lot, too.

Other “chores” I have done in 2018 while in this funk: baked a lot of muffins, organized kitchen cupboards, sorted through clothes to donate.

3. Schedule some fun.

All through the fall, I loved taking a weekly pottery class — and it starts up again next week, woohoo! Seeing how much of a mental boost I got from that class — attending it AND just looking forward to it — inspired me to ask Darling Husband to sign me up for an oil painting class as a Christmas present. The fact that it happens to be on Monday is PERFECT because Mondays are typically real problem for those of us with floundering mental health.

Since I tend to be go-go-go from the minute I get out of bed until the minute the kids are in bed, I’ve decided to change things up. I simply do not have enough bright spots in my week to “look forward to,” and it’s a problem.

So I’m going to start trying to take a real “lunch break” on the days I don’t have a class, so that I can spend an hour doing something creative/fun/mindless to break up my day, whether it’s building something in my studio, working on a painting, reading a book, or just watching a Project Runway rerun while hand-sewing.


Now I’d better hit “Publish” on this post so I can go take my own advice and do a little frog-eating. After all, I have my lunch break to look forward to, right?

If you’re slogging through January, too, I see you. We’ve got this.


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