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Beating the January blues at work: 3 ways to stay energized this new year

By George Gorringe, Copywriter

Wiser

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January 16, 2023 | 6 min read

From post-holiday lethargy to very real feelings of depression, returning to work in the new year can be tough. George Gorringe of Wiser suggests three ways to stay energized in the new year.

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Hibernation season is upon us, but it's also a time to rejuvenate / Sigmund via Unsplash

Heaving ourselves back into our normal routines after the Christmas-new year period can be a real challenge. We’re creatures of habit, and taking a break means breaking routine, turning the workplace from habitual home-away-from-home into ‘please, I just want to stay in my cave and stuff my face’.

The holidays can be a stressful time, with emotional and financial strains making life more difficult. Couple that, in the northern hemisphere at least, with weather that is less than appealing and you’ve got a potent recipe for January Blues. But there are ways to beat them.

Here are three simple strategies you can use right now to start the new year off more positively at work (I enact at least two every year and they definitely improve my outlook).

1. Treat yourself to some therapy

We’re lucky at Wiser to have access to a group of five therapists whenever we need them; the company pays for the first three sessions. If your company offers a similar resource, I’ll bet you’ve never used it. Now’s a perfect time to start.

Chatting with a therapist is a great way to ease your mind and curb those January blues. They’re trained professionals who’ll give you the space you need to vent, judgment-free — then help you find your own solutions to set you on the path to better mental health. I now see a therapist regularly and they’re immensely helpful. Like giving your brain a wash with a soft sponge and some nice-smelling soap.

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2. Move your body

I hate exercise, but I hate feeling terrible in January even more, so guess what wins out? It’s been widely recognized for more than 30 years that even light aerobic exercise can reduce stress when taken regularly. Even a short walk can do the trick. When surveyed, 53% of adults reporting high stress said they felt better about themselves after light to moderate exercise.

Trouble is, increased stress is often a barrier to getting out there and exercising (terrible January weather doesn’t help). Luckily, there are plenty of at-home and workplace-friendly solutions.

A simple search on YouTube yields thousands of results for home workouts. Got a set of weights? Great — start using them. Work in a high-rise? Ignore the lift and take the stairs. Join that lunchtime yoga class with colleagues. The point is, we’ve got options. Lots of them. So move your way to a healthier mind this January (perhaps with the help of Joe Wicks and his 10-minute workouts).

3. Book a holiday

Most companies reset their annual leave in January — so get in early doors and book some time off. You’ve always talked about that trip to Rome, or that beach in the Maldives, or the Inca trail, so do it. Workplace leave is there to be used, so stop feeling guilty about it. Put in that request and go have an adventure that’s all your own, or a lazy week by a pool in the sun. You do you; that’s the point.

It’s called ‘positive anticipation’ — giving our monkey brains something to look forward to, creating a sense of reward and motivating us through tough times. At Wiser, we’ve partnered with the lovely folks over at Nemo who pay us a visit once a month, encouraging us to take time off and help us book killer holidays (this year, I’m heading to Croatia).

January sucks, but we can make it better

Whether you book a holiday, get your body moving or give your brain a good old refresh with some professional therapy, one or more of these strategies will almost certainly help you feel better this January and get you energized to return to work.

We’re only scratching the surface here. There are so many other ways you can beat the January blues; that's pretty encouraging, isn’t it? Ultimately, we’ve been through the season of giving; now it’s time to focus on you. What do you want? What are your goals for the coming year? And how can you start the new year feeling good?

Work Life Balance Work & Wellbeing Mental Health

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Wiser

Wiser is an award-winning creative & recruitment company combining culture and performance to change the way people think about work.It's a home for people who...

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