January 2024

    The first few weeks of January can be difficult. After eating so much chocolate, possibly dealing with difficult relationships? dark days, cold and wet weather and maybe more alcohol than usual, we can feel sluggish and down in ourselves. Sometimes it feels impossible to gather up the necessary intent to establish amazing goals, socially set for new year. Maybe you’re still tired from 2023, especially if you suffered loss of any kind. We are still in Winter, and even though we are working hard and work doesn’t stop (modern day living) it’s good to remember that this time of year is naturally designed for us to rest when possible and build energy for the upcoming year.

    Or maybe you feel great, exercising more and eating healthier, you’re ready to be more of the good YOU this year. Either way hopefully these pointers can support you in your mind set and actions. More than likely you are the same person as you were last month, so go easy on the expectations. Practice small successful consistent changes.

    1. When we do take time out from our busy schedule, remember that you need to practice doing nothing, in order to be ready for anything.
    2. Protect your time. Time is rarely given to you, so you must give it to yourself. When you etch out personal time make sure to protect that space from all the other “important” things that can steel our recovery time. Let the necessary others know of your commitment to this personal project, and that you cannot be reached at that particular time.
    3. Trust yourself. When it comes to wellbeing decisions, you must only convince yourself not others.
    4. Be more human. All natural living creatures and plants on this planet slow down at this time of year, even though you are busy, do it when you can. Realise you may not be naturally in 5th gear just yet and adjust. You need to shift your attention from constant productivity and ambitions, in order to maintain a strong mind.
    5. January is about planning and setting intentions, set those intentions according to what you really need right now, what is your bliss? What brings you joy? Nobody needs a joyless life.
    6. Happiness is determined by the simple things in life. When we lose people that were important to us and we usually feel we took them for granted. So instead of consistently worrying about what we need next and more of, to get ahead, also feel grateful for the relationships and the health currently in your life.
    7. Don’t let last year’s loss and disappointments hold you back either. Honour your losses, and move forward with your new deeper developed courage and faith in yourself. Practice balancing what you find painful about your life with what’s a joy.The important things in life are usually the most painful. Everyone has a problem in life that they can’t change. So practice balancing the good with the bad.
    8. In January/Winter we are still shaking off last year. If you want to be at your best this year, use January to finish off winter and what is represents. Respect your body with good food, nurturing movement and good mind-set. The energy to change comes in natural waves, when it’s time to change, you feel it.

    Write down or reflect on all you worked hard for in 2023. You probably achieved more than you remember, we wish you more than you can imagine for 2024!

    In our next article following wellbeing through the year, we speak about how traditionally the 1st of February was celebrated as our start of spring and growth.

    Happy new year on behalf of the Garda Occupational Health & Wellbeing Office.