Winter Blues

Business Dispatches

Does this time of year get you down?

So I read that the Monday in the middle of January was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. They called it Blue Monday. Have you heard of this? Have you heard the back story? It’s a great example of pseudoscience or junk science… fake news even. Here’s a Wikipedia posting about it if you want to read more.

Still, many people find this time of year to be particularly difficult. I’m not talking about clinical depression for which there is no season or static predictors like those in the “formula” that was created to decide which day is Blue Monday. Really, I think the whole idea of Blue Monday is disrespectful of those who truly are suffering from depression. Our current social propensity to label things as depressing or calling oneself “depressed” if you are feeling sad trivializes the real and debilitating challenges faced by those suffering from clinical depression. It undermines their struggles for support and the opportunity to be taken seriously and eliminate the stigma that the illness can carry.

Still, I believe many people do struggle through the early part of the year. I’m talking more about the challenges of getting back on track with our lives and businesses after the celebrations are past. You know those moments when we’re left facing some of the excesses in which we might have indulged (food and financial come to mind). Perhaps you put on a few extra pounds or your credit card bill is larger than expected or your business typcally softens after the Holidays. Add to that, the weather and the desire to hibernate through the cold months and some folks tend to get a little blue and demotivated.

Fortunately there are some well documented and effective things you can do help keep your motivation or pick yourself back up from the early winter blues. Here are three things that I have found to be particularly effective for me. I have also heard good feedback from others with whom I have come in contact in my business coaching practice.

Take action in support of your goals

Committing to and taking those first steps towards achieving this years goals is a great way to start to build momentum and a success pathway. That old saying about “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step" absolutely applies in this instance. And for me, as I complete my actions, my confidence and commitment increases and satisfaction in moving closer to my goals builds. Following those first steps immediately with the next steps will even further reinforce the benefits. Keep action going! Adopt an action orientation. If you haven’t set out your goals for this year, here is an earlier post of mine on how to set effective goals.

Get outside

Even at this time of the year, a sure cure to beat the blues for me is to get outside, preferably in a park or on a trail in the woods. If I am feeling tense or down, some time outside in the fresh air picks me up every time. But its cold I hear you say. Have you heard the saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear”? Put on some weather appropriate clothing (extra layers in the winter or a good waterproof layer if its raining) and enjoy the time outside. It’s not a fashion parade, just some time to clear your head. It’s one of the best ways I know to pick myself up and get in some healthy movement at the same time.

Positive affirmations

Someone once told me that when you’re down, that’s the time to talk to yourself, not listen to yourself. They also told me that the mind can’t hold both a negative thought and a positive thought at the same time. Positive affirmations are a way to talk yourself through the tough times and silence the inner critic that will challenge your dreams, slow your actions and impede your ability to reach your goals. If you are finding your internal dialog to be negative, make it a priority to talk to yourself with positive affirmations.

Don’t let inclement weather, Seasonal hangovers, fewer sunlight hours or anything else for that matter distract you from achieving your goals. You can take positive, intentional steps to get you through the low points and stay on track with reaching your goals. Lets talk about building and executing a clear plan of action to get you where you want to go. Business coaching might be the right gear to help you in the stormy weather.

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