Facing Forward – A Guide to February

February 08th 2017

Facing Forward – A Guide to February

January gets a lot of attention as being one of the hardest (if not THE hardest month!) of the year. The "January blues" can be a very real thing. However, February can be a big challenge too as we evaluate our progress on those New Year’s resolutions and the goals we set for the coming months. The weather is getting a bit more unsettled and those windy and wet days can have a significant effect on our mood and our “get-up and go”. If your January was filled with success and progress, or if it was a bit more of struggle, here are some tips for the month ahead. 

If January was a good month for you – well done and keep up the good work!

  • Enjoy the sense of achievement and reward if you have met some personal targets or stuck to those resolutions. Be proud. 
  • Avoid your progress slowing down by mixing things up a little. Shuffle your daily schedule to avoid your routine becoming boring and stale. Try a different class in the gym, read a book from a new author, take a walk/run somewhere new or try a new food you've never eaten before. 
  • If you've reached your goals – maybe aim higher again! Challenge yourself to progress with your development by setting new goals that will take you outside your comfort zone - that’s where a lot of valuable learning can be! Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic in addition to being challenging.  

Sticking with resolutions and remaining positive can be tough at the best of times. If January wasn't a particularly good month for you, don’t sweat it too much. January only makes up 0.83 of the year and approximately 0.00104 of an average person’s life. To put it in to perspective! 

  • Don’t minimise or play-down any accomplishments or achievements you had in January, no matter how small they may seem. Everybody starts somewhere and all progress counts! 
  • Remember, big changes in life are made up of loads of smaller changes – look hard for any small changes you have made, even if they weren’t sustained and give yourself some credit for them. Write them down to remind you of them and think about some ideas on how to build on them going forward. It’s important to remind ourselves of our strengths and merits when things seem a little tough. 
  • Comparing our goals and measuring our success to those of someone else’s is a common pitfall – your goals should be unique to you and personal. Start as small as you like and build up from there. 
  • Being kind to yourself is vitally important. While it is important to notice some mistakes and errors we’ve made so we can learn from them, being overly self-critical can lead to us feeling bad about ourselves (low self-esteem) or feeling shameful. Give yourself the same advice you would give to a good friend or loved one – be kind and encouraging to yourself! 

A final word on February...

Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching. It can be a day of great enjoyment and excitement if you’ve found someone special. However it can also be a lonely day if you are having trouble in your relationship, have recently broken-up with someone or are still searching for your match. If you don’t have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with this year, make plans with other single friends or people who make you feel good about yourself! If you find that spending some time by yourself helps, plan a nice self-care activity; treat yourself to some nice food or watch your favourite movie or TV show for example – choose something that you know is guaranteed to make you feel good.  

Face forward in to February with confidence and renewed motivation. Don't worry about the “New Year, New Me” taglines that are posted in January. You don't need to become a "New You", you already have so much to offer. However if there are things that you would like to improve or change this year, there's still plenty of time left to make it happen! 

If you have been finding life is tough at the moment, talk to a trusted adult in your life about what has been difficult for you.  There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing a difficult or distressing time. Check our website to find your nearest Jigsaw.  Alternatively, you can log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for mental health support services near you or talk to your GP (General Practitioner) about supports in your local area. 

John Owens   -   Senior Clinical Support Worker   -   Jigsaw Dublin City