January lockdown blues - tips for staying positive

W e’ve been hit with a double whammy this January. Not only do we have to endure the dullest month of the year, but we rolled into 2021 under another lockdown. So even the most ardent optimist may struggle with healthy new year resolutions such as dieting or a strict fitness regime this year.

For many of us, December is usually the month of excess – a diary packed with social events, catching up with family and friends, eating, drinking and yet more drinking. In contrast, January is associated with restraint – detoxing, staying in, setting challenges for the year ahead. This year is looking a little different. Although the usual suspects such as Veganuary and Dry January launched their well-meaning campaigns, it does feel like it’s all a bit too much this year and the focus should be on what we can do, rather than what we cannot.

We spoke to members of the Fourth Day team to get a feel for what they have planned to keep spirits up over the weeks ahead. Here are our top tips:

  • Healthy body, healthy mind

There has been a divided response to what constitutes exercise within team FD, though most agree just how important it is to keep everything ticking over. In camp Bendy we have Danny and Xanthe favouring a more gentle approach, with Xanthe embarking upon Yoga with Adriene’s 30-day challenge and Danny keen to incorporate stretching into his daily routine.

In another camp, we have our content director, Paul, favouring a military-style regime helped along by a virtual group. Paul tells us “I started a 40-day challenge, along with a group of my mates – all 40+ year old blokes struggling with middle-aged dad bod”. Paul added “We’re doing activities every day and it’s great to get fit, but doing this as a group also gives us a reason to stay in touch – from a distance”   

And director Nikki favours shaking it all out on a regular basis with the activity beloved of ‘ladies of a certain age’, Zumba with the addition of disco lights for extra cheesiness!

  • Switching off and zoning out

With regular government briefings and daily pandemic figures, not to mention a few things going on over the pond, the constant stream of news has left many of us choosing to ‘switch off’ and indulge in a little escapism where we can.

Danny in our Manchester office has set himself a challenge of reading a chapter of his book every morning: “I fell out of the habit of reading with no morning commute on the tram, but know it’s a really good way to switch off, get off my phone and away from the news”.

Kat and Nikki also favour burying their heads in a book for a bit of escapism, with Kat keen to pick up all those unfinished books. Xanthe has been pushing herself into doing increasingly impossible jigsaws and I’m about to get stuck into a Cold War Steve jigsaw. 

Kat, based in London, tells us a little more about her philosophy for keeping her mind focused “I regularly remind myself to stay in the moment…not anticipating all the ways my plans will be ruined by restrictions, but taking stock of what I have and what is happening right now.”

  • Being social in a socially distanced way

The Fourth Day team is a sociable lot and keeping connected with friends and colleagues is, understandably, high on the list. In addition to our weekly virtual drinks on Fridays, some of my colleagues favour other inventive ways to socialise.

Kate, in our London office, told us she enjoys morning walks with her friend and her dog…perhaps clearing her head after those regular deliveries from Majestic (contributing to her ‘drink the bar dry’ January!).

Nikki has tried to plan virtual social events attempting a social life, one of her favourites being Clint Boon’s disco rescue on a Friday night, when she can let her hair (and disco ball) down and invite friends to join her online. 

  • Keeping it in the family if you can

Not an easy one to follow if you live on your own, however it might be something you can do with your support bubble or virtually – read how the FD team have been making the most of their increased spare time at home:

Kate has invested in a smokeless fire pit (so 2020) and intends to continue to enjoy family time around it on a regular basis.

Director Xanthe has been enjoying the Netflix classic Schitt’s Creek “We’ve nearly finished so I’d welcome suggestions for alternative sources of pleasantly warming and entirely intellectually undemanding telly!” 

Family board games also feature heavily in both Xanthe and Nikki’s households with Xanthe developing an obsession with Settlers of Catan – and yes, we’re still not quite sure what it is!

Getting out into the countryside also seems to be high on the agenda for many, with Nikki and her family seeking out new walks most weekends.

I think most of the Fourth Day team has agreed on one thing, try not to put too much pressure on yourself this month…oh and forget about Dry January, we’re all about Moist January!

The author

Caroline is a junior account manager in the Manchester office

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