The party season is over, the presents have all been unwrapped and now you’re back at your desk as if Christmas never even happened. It’s not surprising that many of us feel a bit down in January, but help is at hand. Here are five ways to cheer yourself up and perhaps even brighten someone else’s day.
- Focus on the positives. If you had a brilliant Christmas be grateful for it, and if you didn’t be glad that it’s over! Thank God for the gifts you received, the people you hung out with and the fact that you have a job to go back to. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Make some exciting plans. January is a great time to plan ahead and get things in the diary that you can look forward to. You’ve got a whole year of fun to come! Think about who you would most like to spend time with. Pencil in big events like holidays and birthdays but also pepper your planner with coffee dates and movie nights. You may even want to think about more significant things, like a new career, qualification or ministry. Think about how you can move closer to your goals in 2020 and don’t forget to include God in your plans! Proverbs 16:9 says: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
- Get your finances in order. Many people find January particularly stressful because they’ve spent so much over the festive period and find themselves facing a mountain of post-Christmas debt. Whether you’re struggling financially or feeling flush, make sure you know where you stand. Come up with a budget/savings plan for the months ahead and stick to it! Don’t bury your head in the sand if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a great place to go for help. If you’re at the end of the spectrum, consider how you can use your money to help others and further God’s kingdom. As 1 John 2:15-17 says: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them…The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
- Take care of yourself. Whether you overindulged or not during the holidays it can be hard to get back into the swing of things come January. Early mornings may not be your favourite thing but most people benefit from having a routine. Get back on track with plenty of sleep, good food and exercise. Relax a little and laugh a lot. Soak in nature. Declutter and destress your life. Let go of things that are making you feel overwhelmed. It’s important to take care of your physical and mental health. 3 John 2 says: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
- Invest in relationships. It can feel really sad when everyone goes back to their normal lives after spending a lovely festive break together, but don’t wait until next Christmas to hang out with your besties again. Alternatively, if tempers were a little frayed during the holidays do what you can to get things back on track. A new year is also a great time to make new friends. Join a club or sign up for something on the church rota. Not only will you be doing something useful with your time but you’re bound to meet new people in the meantime. Keep an eye out for those around you who may be struggling or in need. As 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
If you feel as though your current mood is a bit more serious than a bit of post-Christmas ‘blues’, talk to someone about it. Have a chat with your GP, counsellor or someone you trust. Ask people to pray with or for you, and bring your situation before God. Isaiah 40:31 says: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
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