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A new chapter where you can create your narration

17 January 2022

6 mins

Hello, 2022. Where do we even begin?

It’s January and the first month of the new year – a time commonly dedicated to New Year’s resolutions, intentional lifestyle changes, and adopting a ‘new year, new me’ attitude. However, for many of us, the ‘positive hat’ we all wish would automatically go on as the new year enters does not always come as easily as we hope.

2021 was a challenging year for us all, and so experiencing feelings of burnout and exhaustion – even after a Christmas break – is completely understandable. However, a New Year does provide a great opportunity to reflect and strive to adopt a positive mindset for the year ahead.  

Whether you are feeling energised this January, or you are still rebuilding your routine after the Christmas break, I hope this piece encourages you.

The clock strikes midnight on the last day of December, there’s a feeling of relief as we look back and remember 2021 – a year of ups and downs and highs and lows, feeling ready for a new year and the opportunity to grow. The world lifts its voice to say, ‘Happy New Year’, and 2022 is welcomed with a united cheer. It’s an opportunity to start afresh, to reflect on things and give it our best. To set new goals, tackle the challenges and kickstart the rest.

However, whilst it is easy to assume each one of us will be raring to go, remove the rose-tinted glasses to see that some may feel low. Feelings of demotivation, flatness and ‘cba’, most commonly known as the ‘January Blues’. The joy of Christmas is over and it’s that time to open our laptops again, reply to emails and pick up loose ends. Deadlines and demands can be overwhelming, and the idea of routine does not feel so compelling.

Take the time to rest and be kind to yourself, explore the outdoors or reach for your bookshelf. Call a loved one or reach out to a coursemate, and encounter the connections this will create. Treat them with kindness, and the heaviness of the January blues will dispel into lightness.

So, if you’ll allow me to leave you with one thing, may it be this: a new year is exciting, but allowing yourself time is the ultimate key. January can be a hard month for a multitude of reasons, but there are pockets of good in every season. Set yourself goals and aspirations, 2022  is a new chapter where you can create your narration.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Here are a few practical tips and tricks to help us all kickstart 2022 in the best way:

  1. Shift the focus

Take some time to reflect on your lifestyle during 2021 and think about areas that you could change this year. Do you need to make more time for yourself and focus on things that make you feel good?

Perhaps make a conscious decision to find little joys in each day (even if it’s something as simple as really appreciating your morning coffee!)

2. Routine Check

In the aftermath of the Christmas break where all routine is non-existent, take time this month to get yourself into a routine that makes you feel good. Prioritise your sleep over scrolling through your phone (we are all guilty of it!), try to eat three fulfilling meals a day, and leave space for downtime each night.

Perhaps try and wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual and use that time to do something you love (eg a walk, run or reading a book). This will start your day off well.

3. Treat your body

It is no secret that getting outdoors is highly beneficial for both our physical and mental health. Try and find some local walking spots nearby, or if walking is not for you, perhaps try out some gym classes or take up jogging. Whatever it is, the one requirement is that it makes you feel good and gets your body moving!

4. Realism is key

For some of us, setting specific new year’s resolutions works well and propels motivation to reach our goals. However, for others, it may be more beneficial to keep it relaxed and adopt a mindset to make little positive changes here and there throughout the year (a go with the flow approach!). Whichever style suits you, be realistic about the goals you set and do not expect to feel 100% motivated, 24/7. Setting goals in January that will sustain for the year will not work if you expect too much from yourself.

5. What inspires you?

We all experience days where adopting a positive mindset is tough, and so it is important to find sources of inspiration which will both encourage you and boost your mood.

Podcasts, books, motivational speakers or even following positivity-focused influencers is a good place to start.

6. Reach out

Sometimes, it will feel impossible to find the motivation to adopt a positive mindset, and that’s okay. It’s important to reach out to people, as well as utilise the resources around us!

Here are a few resources that may be of use if you are finding this month particularly challenging:

University services:

  • The LU Wellbeing app – a digital toolkit that uses a holistic approach to positively influence your wellbeing, incorporating mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) amongst many other techniques.  
  • Togetherall – designed to help people get support to take control of their wellbeing and feel better. It provides 24/7 peer-to-peer and professional support (from experienced clinicians who are always online), plus a range of courses and tools to help people self-manage their wellbeing. 
  • The Yellow Book – an online resource with various tools and techniques to help combat stress in written and audio format. The e-book features poems, songs, readings and artwork to help with your mental wellbeing (sign-in required). 
  • Chaplaincy – a place where students and staff are welcome to reflect, explore and express faith and spirituality. It is a place to pray, to meditate and to meet others. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Staff-specific support: 

  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – confidential, unlimited support on any matter that might be of concern to you which is available to access 24/7.  
  • My Healthy Advantage app – complementing the EAP, the app provides an enhanced set of wellbeing tools and engaging features to help the user’s mental and physical health. 
  • Mental Health First Aiders – Loughborough staff MHF Aiders are trained to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and can potentially avert a crisis from happening. They can do this by recognising warning signs, and they have the skills and confidence to approach and support someone experiencing poor mental health. 

More information can be found on the Staff Wellbeing pages.  

Student support: 

  • Student Services – providing emotional and wellbeing support as well as advice on any financial or accommodation concerns you might have. 

Abbie Coburn, Graduate Management Trainee at Loughborough University

Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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