January can be a tough time for a lot of people – you’ve got the post-Christmas comedown to contend with, the time has come to head back to work, and it seems like payday will never arrive. Not to mention the fact it’s cold and dark.
But there are people out there for whom January marks the start of something new after a difficult December. People who welcome the New Year with hope, positivity and motivation.
James Edgington is one of them. “I love January,” says the festival director for Bolton Pride and co-founder of the Jennifer Charity. “I’ve always struggled with Christmas because I never had mum around [she passed away when he was a baby]. January for me is the start of something new. I like that I can look forward to spring coming, which for me means better weather and brighter, longer days.”
Edgington says January is a good time to commit to trying something new, and that plays a key part in keeping him motivated and happy. It’s also the perfect time to visit people for a catch-up over lunch or a coffee, he says, adding that you can seize the opportunity to make plans with them for the year ahead.
There’s a huge focus on New Year’s resolutions come January and while it doesn’t work for everyone, a lot of Jan fans do like to set themselves goals. Puja McClymont, 38, is a life and business coach for whom setting goals is essential: “I plan my top three goals for the year. As a coach, I go deep into the reasons for the goal and then map out how I’m going to achieve them. It helps set the tone for all my activities and self-care.”
But it’s not all goal-setting and business for McClymont, who loves to travel. “At Christmas we tend to stay at home and spend it with close family but when January hits, the month is fair game, and we like to travel, usually far away.
“Last year we went to the Maldives and set the intention to take more frequent breaks in the year. Travel is brilliant for perspective, re-focussing and appreciating everything we have in our lives which we can often take for granted. We find it sets us up for a good year.”
“I would also suggest planning your time off for the year ahead, so you ensure you take regular breaks,” she says. “We can easily forget to take a break when work gets heavy.”
Sherina White, from Northamptonshire, is also an avid-traveller come January and particularly loves the fact that everywhere is often quieter. (She also loves the first month of the year as it marks hers and her daughter’s birthdays.) It’s a great time for a weekend away, if you can’t afford a huge holiday abroad. “Things are slightly slower after the Christmas rush,” says the 38-year-old business owner, who sells grazing boxes and platters. “I enjoy the quiet. Weekends away in January are usually not as busy, but still busy enough for a balanced time away.”
Rachida Benamar used to hate January when she worked as a lawyer, but since becoming self-employed and doing a job she loves, her feelings have taken a U-turn. The 32-year-old who lives in Islington, London, and runs two businesses (one selling stationery and the other as a career coach), says: “Now, I cannot wait for it to be January because I do what I love. In fact, I am almost a little too eager. That’s not to say that my new path isn’t tough at times, it is, but the satisfaction I get from being able to control my own destiny is incredible.” So, if you’re having the back to work blues, perhaps it’s time for a change of job?
Benamar also likes to seize the opportunity to set good habits for the year ahead. She will declutter her wardrobe (giving items to charity) and focus on self-care, which includes getting out and about in the fresh air. “I don’t follow any diet or exercise plan, but I love walking London’s streets, it is the greatest city on Earth and is best seen on foot,” she says. “I also indulge myself in a monthly massage.”