A daily challenge to beat the January blues

lady writing diary

Christmas is over and the new year has just begun.

lady writing diaryThe sparkle and razzmatazz of the festive season has gone, the presents are all open and the partying is over.

It’s dark at both ends of the day, the weather isn’t great, it’s hard work getting going again, and the prospect of another year can feel rather daunting.

Whereas December is full of anticipation, excitement, celebration and perhaps even some overindulgence, January can be distinctly underwhelming, even a bit flat.

This month is also renowned for being the worst time of year with the rain, high divorce rates and debt, culminating in Blue Monday, this year Monday 16 January, the most depressing day of the year. Even writing this is pulling me down.

So enough of this, and let’s get to what you can do about it.

In December I was talking to my hypnotherapy mentor, Chloe Cook, about techniques to give to clients when they were feel overwhelmed by life or are very negative in their thinking. Chloe shared this fabulous method with me, and she has also very kindly agreed I could share it with you.

It’s called the five-question challenge.

It’s a very versatile technique that can be helpful at times of anti-climax or high stress, as well as being a good way to develop a positive mindset.

The challenge involves you completing five questions at the end of each day.

The five-question challenge

  1. Today I am grateful for…
  2. Today I helped someone by…
  3. Something that made me happy today was…
  4. Today I learned… about myself
  5. Tomorrow I will…
See also  Five ways to shut down unnecessary guilt...

The first four relate to your thoughts and feelings about the day that has just gone, and the final one encourages you to set a positive intention for the following day.

Seems simple enough doesn’t it? Your answers, however, can be very revealing if you dig deep into yourself. And over time you may be surprised just how powerful they can be.

They shift your focus away from your problems and stresses to the treasures and joys, however small, of the everyday and on to personal learning and reflection.

I’m not the creator of this challenge, but here are some of my thoughts on how to use the technique based upon my own personal experience of trying it for a month.

Firstly, make sure you do this every day, so it becomes a way of thinking and being, an integral part of your day, a positive habit. The only way to do this is to keep doing it.

You are more likely to do this if you share you answers with a good friend or confidante.

Choose someone you trust, ask them if you could share your answers with them, and agree a start date. They may even choose to do the challenge as well and send you their answers. Then set aside a regular time each day to email over your answers. This arrangement shows you are committed to doing the challenge, and you are far more likely to answer the questions from your soul, for a greater reward.

Alternatively, if you don’t have someone to share your answers with, write them down every day in your diary or gratitude journal – this commits them to paper and you can see them and reflect on changes over time.

See also  Happiness: can mindfulness help?

You’ll notice how your mindset shifts, where your focus moves to, and how you feel about yourself and your life in general.

For me, the most powerful aspect of doing this challenge was my answers to the last two questions. Even when I was having a bad day, I noticed things about the way I handled things that I would not have paid attention to before. By setting an intention for the following day, I approached it with a clear head and greater purpose.

I’ve now got so used to doing it I actually miss it if on the odd occasion I don’t do my daily challenge.

So, if life is feeling rather hard work or tedious to you, give this technique a try. Maybe January won’t seem so dreary after all.

About Sally Coombs

My great passion is tennis, and through tennis I was introduced to Henpicked by the late Carolyn Lazarus as we were chatting after a tennis match against each other, which she won! I also love art, architecture, music, literature, films, nature, walking and sport. In my professional capacity I am an emotional well-being Hypnotherapist and easibirthing® fertility practitioner and author of 'The Infertility Experience' available from Amazon.