11 Ways to Avoid the January Blues

Christmas is over. You’ve returned to work. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, it’s probably dark, cold and gloomy outside. Here’s how to brighten up the beginning of your year
Preparing for the journey. Photo: Shutterstock
Preparing for the journey. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Plan a trip

This may be an obvious choice but, oh boy, is it a good one. Having a holiday in the diary to look forward to can cheer you up no end. It gives you a date to work towards, when you’ll next have a break and, depending on your destination, probably a little sunshine too.

Don’t know where to start with planning? Browse our suggested itineraries for some inspiration. Alternatively, our local experts are on hand to help you design the perfect holiday itinerary. Get in touch today

2. Have a goal to focus on 

Working towards a goal is key to keeping you happy and focused. Whether it’s hitting a target at work, climbing a mountain, training for a fitness challenge or travelling to a place on your bucket list, decide on a goal to complete over the next 8-12 weeks and it will be Spring before you know it. Not only will this help motivation levels, but once you’ve finished the task at hand, you’ll feel like you achieved something solid in the beginning of the year. 

3. Get active

This one has been scientifically proven time and time again. Getting active – from working out in the gym to taking a long, winter’s walk – releases endorphins, which in turn make you feel like you’re glowing. Join your local gym or fitness centre; buddy-up with friends and begin running; walk home from work... The choice is yours! Combine exercise with the things you love so it never feels like a chore, too. Insight Guides can help you create an active holiday itinerary, if you want to combine getting fit with travelling too. 

4. Expand your food choices, and keep it healthy

Variety is the spice of life. Treat your tastebuds to a world of new cuisines, dishes and flavours by expanding your foods this New Year. That doesn’t mean overdoing it on Belgian chocolates, rather than Swiss. We mean exploring the world through its food: try an authentic cooking class in Bangkok, explore thriving fish markets in Tokyo, or dine in style in Lima’s latest hip openings. Expanding your culinary tastes will open you up to new experiences, enlighten you to other cultures and satisfy your stomach too. 

5. Get outside whenever the sun shines

Don’t focus on only exploring at the weekends or when a holiday arrives. Your hometown, city or village is full of life come rain or shine. Beat the winter blues by making the most of your local area; explore museums, take little-known trails and recharge in little, local cafés you’ve never tried before. Getting outside can blow away negative feelings, ease symptoms of depression, improve your focus and boost your immune system. Aside from the occasional downpour (in the rainy UK especially), we can’t see any reason not to… 

6. Remain positive

“You are the only person in charge of how you feel today.” A comment that gets me through the drearier days. If you constantly think negative thoughts, you’re bound to feel negative and down too. Once you’ve set a goal for yourself (see step 2), stay focused on it and reward yourself for the mini-achievements you earn along the way. There's no doubt this will ease the back-to-work blues. 

If you’re struggling with your goal, think about what makes you happier in the summer months. Focus on bringing these aspects into your life right now. Obviously, we can’t change the weather, but you know what we mean… 

Learning french at home. Photo: ShutterstockAdding a new skill to your experience is a great confidence boost, like learning French at home. Photo: Shutterstock

7. Learn something new 

Developing a new skill is a little like having a goal set, you'll be able to measure progress and you'll feel like you've achieved something special in the first half of the year. You can combine this with taking a trip (learn to make perfume in Paris or local dishes in Colombia, for example) or try something at home. Insight Guides' wide range of phrasebooks, can help you learn a new language before your next holiday too. Qu'est-ce que tu attends?

8. Stay social 

If you want to keep smiling throughout the first few months of the year, surround yourself with the people who make you happy. Hanging out with friends, family or colleagues regularly keeps you busy, you'll potentially explore new places or have different experiences, while seeing the people you love. Try combining with step 1 and plan a trip together, or step 3: having a partner to train with keeps people focused and boosts confidence. 

9. Volunteer at home or abroad

Giving back can help you feel like you've achieved something good, wholesome and rewarding. Working with a new team, you'll make new friends, potentially develop new skills and help others with yours. You can volunteer in your own backyard (do-it.org is a great resource for local opportunities) or overseas. Here's how to get started

10. Pinch those pennies

We all know the feeling of dread when the post-Christmas credit card bill arrives. Whether you want to save for a holiday or a shopping splurge, laying out a budget and sticking to it will help ease any money-related stresses that you simply don't need at this time of year. While you're at it, review all of your direct debits (those sneaky payments you sign-up to and forget about!) and unnecessary subscriptions or memberships. If you've forgotten they're even there, you certainly don't need them. 

Remember, the harder you work to save, the more money you have for holidays. What better incentive is there?

11. Plan another trip!

A little repetitive? Certainly not! Before you take your first trip in point 1, make sure you get another holiday in the diary. This way, when you return home, you’re not struck down with the post-trip blues, you can start focusing on your next holiday and what you can achieve before you get there. 

This article was originally published on 4th January, 2017

Happy New Year from all at the Insight Guides team. Here’s to a healthy, happy, travel-filled 2018!

Ready to book your trips for the next 12 months with Insight Guides?

Browse available holiday itineraries online now or speak with a local expert today, to plan yours from scratch