Top tips for staying positive in January

Top tips for staying positive in January

After restricted Christmas and new year celebrations, not to mention a disrupted 2020, Dr Emma Davies, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, shares her tips for a positive mindset this January.

1) Don't try to change everything about your life in January

“While it is normally a time for resolutions, most of them fail, and we need to be kinder to ourselves having lived through a massive world event. So if you want to make any changes, start with something small.”

2) Be realistic with Dry January rules

“Cutting down on drinking alcohol can provide a big positivity boost at any time of the year. But if you can't face a fully dry January then start small and stick to drinking once a week. Having said that, the benefits of a fully dry January can be felt well into the summer.”

3) Stay connected to others

“Make plans for the warmer months when (fingers crossed) we'll have more freedom. Having something to look forward to gives us a focus, and planning with friends and family will provide a shared forward thinking task.”

4) Get outside

“Even if it is raining, even if it is just for a short amount of time. We need daylight and exercise to stay positive. You don't have to start training for a marathon, a 30 minute walk each day can boost our feelings of positivity. Start small and build up to 30 minutes if you can. Give yourself a task, such as taking an interesting photo, on each walk.”

5) Seek help if you need it

“If you are feeling very low and finding things difficult and think you may be suffering from depression or another mental health issue then make sure you talk to your GP for help. You can find NHS information online and reach out to the Samaritans.”

Dr Emma Davies’ research explores the psychological factors associated with drinking alcohol, smoking, diet and physical activity, and how these behaviours impact on our mental health and wellbeing.