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CALM’s no BS guide to getting through January and beyond

It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s the middle of a global pandemic. This year, getting through winter is harder than ever  – for reasons we don’t need to explain. Add to that a whole host of ‘new year, new me’ posts from influencers and that ex-colleague from 7 years ago, it can all feel pretty, well, overwhelming. 

So we’ve put together some no BS tips to help you get through the start of the year. Whether you’re feeling January stress, or looking to find some stuff to look forward to in 2021, here goes. 

Stuff that might help 

Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel not good. We’ve all got mental wellbeing to look after, and everything that goes on in our everyday lives can affect it – from our jobs and relationships, to what we’ve eaten and how much kip we’ve managed to get. 

The good news is, there’s stuff that can help manage it, and it doesn’t have to involve a super matcha smoothie or an 18 step workout routine. 

We like to move it, move it

Go for a walk. Dust off your bike. Do some sit ups. Whatever it is, moving your body is proven to help manage your mental wellbeing. Nope, it won’t solve everything, but it can help you feel a bit better. You don’t have to run a marathon and you certainly don’t have to do that weird bleep test thing they made you do at school, moving your body in any way you please is a great start – find something you enjoy. 

Not ready for that? Deep breathing can also help you to feel a bit calmer when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Try taking one deep breath in, and then exhaling for as long as you can. Repeat as many times as you feel you need. It’s a bit like the hokey cokey, but without the shaking it all about part, or any of the other parts, actually. 

Draw badly, sing badly, take photos badly

We know you’re probably not the next Picasso (although kudos if you are), but that doesn’t mean doing creative stuff is off limits. All too often we think because we’re not ‘good’ at something it’s not for us, but that’s not the case. 

No matter how bad you think you are at drawing, no matter how basic your cooking skills, and no matter how questionable your singing is – doing creative stuff is a great way to let out some stress. Don’t believe us? One study showed that 82% of people reported feeling better after taking part in some art. Oh, and the more you do something, the better you’ll get, so it’s a win win. You can get creative as part of the January Challenge in collaboration with 64 million artists here, or take a look at our Art Collective, a creative community who do stuff they love to help them feel good. 

Do a dare

Ok, not quite a dare, but if you’re finding the days long, and lockdown monotonous, it might help to take on a challenge. Having something to focus on, whether that’s planning a zoom takeover, or cycling a certain distance, can help you to feel focussed, purposeful and, well, just a bit better. 

Not sure what to do? That’s what we’re here for. Give the Task Me Anything Challenge generator a whirl. It’ll assign you a task, all you need to do is… wait for it… do it. And the bonus is that any money you raise goes to supporting CALM’s life-saving services. 

Talk, chat, message, meme

You don’t have to do a zoom call. We repeat, you do not have to do a Zoom call. Video chat fatigue is real, and if you’re having to use screens to do your job, it can be even more difficult to commit to an online get together with your mates. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to stop communicating with your friends and family altogether. There’s loads of ways to stay connected, from online Pictionary, to the good old fashioned dog and bone. Talking to someone on the phone can be a little less pressure than letting them see every facial movement. 

From texts and Whatsapp, to sending an email or even a letter, keeping in touch with your network can really help to boost your mood and approach. If you don’t feel like you’ve got anyone to talk to, or you don’t want to talk to the people you are able to talk to, you can call or webchat with CALM. Our professional helpline staff are ready to talk about anything 5pm – midnight every day – you can find out more about what a call or webchat is like here. 

Dealing with January stress and anxiety

Everyone has down days, but if you’re feeling low, unhappy, or worried for days, weeks and months, it could be a sign you’re struggling with your mental health. From worries about the pandemic, to wondering whether life will ever be the same, there’s some extra things to think (and stress) about this year too. 

If it’s all getting too much, you’re not alone – depression and anxiety increased during the first lockdown’s of 2020, with one study showing that three times as many people experienced anxiety or depression. 

However you’re feeling, the CALM helpline is available to chat about whatever you’re going through from 5pm to midnight everyday. You can also read CALM’s no nonsense guides to depression and anxiety to find out more. 



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