January is an objectively miserable month. And I don’t even live in a place where it gets that cold! If you live in a place that has blizzards or four hours of daylight, you are so much tougher than I am, and I applaud you 👏
But still. Every January, I experience the post-holidays, everything-is-gray, always-winter-but-never-Christmas blues. Why is spring so far away? Why is there so little to look forward to in the first part of the year?
I find myself grumbling through mornings even more than usual, and then falling into distraction and procrastination habits that make me feel even worse. Since February is my second least favorite month, I’m trying to break out of this pattern by maintaining two simple habits:
1. Dance in the mornings
2. Walk outside every day (near green things if possible)
I go to a morning Zumba class once or twice a week, and I notice a huge difference in my mood and energy when I do. The same goes for taking a walk – even a short one.
Research backs up the value of these habits. Dance has physical, emotional, cognitive, and social benefits. “Green exercise” (physical activity outdoors) can improve physical and mental health. For more stories and studies on this topic, I highly recommend health psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s new book The Joy of Movement, which is all about the happiness, meaning, and connection we get from moving our bodies.
So I’m making an effort to add doses of dancing and walking into my day, even if I’m just dancing to one song while getting dressed or walking a few minutes to the grocery store.
What’s one thing you can do to boost your mood this time of year?