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A Clean Start in January

Last Updated: April 8, 2024

Written by Karen Norman
A Clean Start in January

A Clean Start to the New Year. 

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals” – Source: Melody Beattie, Self-Help Author. 

This blog post is for those of us that feel that small but harsh jolt of reality after our festive indulgences and need some inspiration to snap us out of the doldrums. 

Several reasons can exist for feeling a little gloomy in January. The best of us can feel it. First, there can be such excitement and build-up to the holidays. Then there can be numerous celebrations and a glut of socializing during the festive season. Furthermore, an abundance of eating and drinking can occur together with late nights and lazy mornings. 

Finally, we enter a world at the end of December and the first of the New Year that can be substantially different from our everyday routine. No wonder so many of us can feel a little flat in January. It’s back to work or on with our regular lives, which may not seem quite as exciting. 

In addition, the scales may show we’ve overeaten. The bank account may show we’ve overspent. Colds and Viruses can be prominent. And in Calgary, Alberta, we may be entering sub-zero temperatures that make us want to huddle up by the fireplace and watch television. So is it any surprise we feel a little low in spirits after the holidays?

Ideas to Boost your Spirits in January. 

January need not be the doom and gloom month it’s often made out to be. Outlined below is some food for thought for clearing away the post-holiday cobwebs and making January a fresh clean start. 

Pack away the Decorations. 

You may feel you should remove your festive decorations as soon as your holiday celebrations are over. Or your focus might be on doing it before the traditional 6th January deadline, but we suggest you do it when you are ready. Nevertheless, the act of clean-up might help you feel more prepared for a fresh start. So, if you haven’t done it yet, now might be a good time.

If you are procrastinating somewhat, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Don’t throw away boxes and bags from presents until after you’ve packed away your decorations. They can come in handy.
  • Gather together any spare storage boxes you might have. Alternatively, you could buy some inexpensive cardboard file storage boxes with lids from your local office supply store.
  • Plastic Garment Bags can be handy too.
  • Remove any batteries before storing ornaments so that they don’t corrode.
  • Get some labels and a marker for labelling boxes and bags. Masking or Painters Tape can be helpful both for labelling and for sealing boxes.
  • Baubles can be delicate. Use Egg Boxes to store them. Or you can wrap them in tissue if they are extra fragile.
  • Elastic bands can help hold the branches of an Artificial Christmas tree together. Store trees in their original boxes or store them in super-large Ziploc bags. Some people use industrial-strength plastic wrap they wind around the tree. Others buy tree bags.
  • To keep Christmas lights tangle-free, wrap them around some cardboard. For example, the tube from a paper towel or a roll of gift wrap works well.
  • Have a dedicated box to store tissue, wrapping paper and gift bags.
  • Next year, make gift tags using old Christmas cards cut with Pinking Shears.

Eat Healthier. 

The idea of dieting off the pounds can seem a little daunting. Personally, if I want to lose a few pounds, I start a diet in February, when it’s that much closer to Spring. Instead, I use January to prepare for the diet rather than embark on one. I look at ways to cut back on carbs and sugar, replacing them with more nutritious options such as fruit and healthy fats. Looking at more nutritional food choices will give you a boost.

Maybe you still have lots of irresistible left-over goodies. You know you wouldn’t eat them if they weren’t so readily available. If they pose such a temptation, how about giving them away? Or re-wrapping them as a gift ready for that unexpected birthday?

Instead, it may be wise to stock up on healthier alternatives (dietary restrictions and allergies permitting of course).

  • Fruit – in particular Berries
  • Eggs
  • Oily Fish (Salmon, Sardines)
  • Flaxseed
  • Nuts, Seeds
  • Greens – Lettuce, Cabbage, Green Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Salad

Start a New Hobby. 

Cooking and Baking can be fun, especially if it’s not something you usually do. Maybe it’ll help you prepare food for the freezer for that February diet we talked about above.

Essentially, find something fun to do that won’t break the bank but will help you break up the routine.

Get Some Exercise. 

It goes without saying that you should check with your doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. And not everyone is a fan of vigorous exercise or wants the expense of a gym. However, simply getting out of the house for a bit can be stimulating. Maybe just a walk or trip to a coffee shop to give you a different outlook on things. Fresh Air is good for you provided it’s not too cold and you dress appropriately. Falling snow is often interspersed with sunny days. Ironically a sunny day is sometimes referred to as a Blue Day – as in a cloudless blue-sky day. You could also get out and try some hot yoga.

If getting out is not easy, you could put on an Indoor exercise or dance video. Or simply playing and jigging along to some upbeat music that you’ve not listened to in a while can make you feel more upbeat.

Pamper Yourself.  

Is some spoiling in order? Get a massage, perhaps? If you have health benefits through work, they may include massages as an option. Check your policy for conditions. You might be able to take advantage of the benefits cycle starting again in January, making more funds available.

When pennies are tight, perhaps try a Home Spa. Soaking in a hot bubble bath may appeal to you.

Socialize and Laugh More. 

Volunteering can get you out of the house and give you a sense of purpose.

Or how about arranging a get-together – pandemic rules permitting, of course? Perhaps a post-Christmas potluck party is in order (which keeps the cost down) but allows you to spend some quality time with friends. How about making it a themed potluck – how about a fun focus on sunshine and having everyone dress in yellow?

If you are going to stay indoors – try watching some funny videos. Or watch your favourite upbeat TV shows. Whatever you decide, be deliberate about your TV selections.

De-clutter and Reorganize. 

Clutter can add to that feeling of being overwhelmed.

You may have heard the phrase… “a tidy house, a tidy mind.” Or is it the other way around? Either way, you will feel better if you take control of your environment. Do you work from home? Check out our Office Cleanup Blog too. 

Does the idea of decluttering seem daunting? Doing just some organizing is better than doing nothing. How about taking baby steps? Take a few minutes periodically to clear away part of a room. Then later, spend a few more minutes organizing and so on. Then before you know it, you’ll have tidied the whole room. 

Or pick just one area of a room that bugs you or one item to clear away that is constantly on your mind. 

January can be the perfect time to organize the food in your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer or do the Kid’s Room Clean Up. Look for food with old sell-by or best-before dates that need discarding. Or have fun sorting a cupboard. You may be surprised how much more room you could end up with if you do.

Start a Journal. 

A Journal can help get your thoughts in order. Taking stock of your thoughts can be therapeutic. Or start a Gratitude Journal. It may take your focus off your perceived lack and instead make you appreciate just what you do have.

Make Time for Reading. 

Take time to read. Read whatever you enjoy, whether it is an excellent work of fiction or perhaps, like me, you love the latest self-help advice or motivating life tips.

You could learn something new. Your local library can be a perfect place to start.

Plan a Trip. 

Even if it’s a long way off, planning a trip can give you something to look forward to. A trip doesn’t have to be expensive. Use the quieter time in January to be creative and do your research. Or plan for a later date to give yourself time to save up. It is great to have something to get excited about.

Create a Practical Budget. 

Don’t bury your head in the sand (or your bills). The Government of Alberta has a great article on Creating a Budget. It may seem scary to focus on exactly where you are financially but facing it will be better for you in the long run.

Design a Vision Board. 

Perhaps you could use your days to design a Vision Board outlining your aspirations for the rest of the year?

According to Jack Canfield: “A vision board is a visualization tool which refers to a board of any sort used to build a collage of words and pictures that represent your goals and dreams.” For some ideas on Vision Boards, check out this video: How to Create a Vision Board.

Ignore the Myth of Blue Monday. 

The so-called “Blue Monday,” usually earmarked for the 3rd Monday of January, is often hyped up to be the gloomiest day of the year. However, according to Medical News Today, the term originated as a marketing campaign and was not intended to make people dread any day in January. On the contrary, perhaps it is time to get a different outlook on those 31 days of the first month. You don’t have to define it as the “January Blues.” Maybe give them a more positive nickname instead. How about “January Rainbows?”

However, for some those Winter Blues can be more serious, affecting their ability to function as effectively, as usual, each day. Then it’s time to seek medical help which is beyond the scope of this blog.

The Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary has a helpful article on Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). Their website also provides valuable information on other mental health topics, but we strongly suggest a consult with your doctor should be your first step.

Finally, Did we say Clean? 

Or get someone to. Lean for you! There is no reason to wait for Spring to start Spring Cleaning. On the contrary, how about setting some New Year Cleaning Resolutions? 

Housecleaning might be very cathartic and a great way to get a clean start and purge those winter doldrums.

Check out all our Cleaning and Organization Hacks for some inspiration.

Have you thought about starting with a Carpet Cleaning Service or a Furnace Cleaning? You might want to evaluate the cost by checking out some of our Cleaning Deals. Or give us a CALL for a free no-obligation quote.

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