It is no coincidence the saddest day of the year, Blue Monday, falls in the middle of January.
The month can often be a difficult time for a number of factors, like the end of the holiday period, consequences of post-Christmas spending, and colder weather setting in.
And while our bank accounts and homes look a lot emptier and quieter, there are ways to tackle the melancholy that comes with the new year.
Mindfulness coach Vickie Robson, from Turriff, says there are simple things we can do to make the most out of a bleak, dreary January.
And it has to do with our perspective and taking time out of our day to be present.
Practice being thankful for the little things
Vickie said one of the ways to beat the January blue is by writing down things we’re thankful for, no matter how small it may be.
“Gratitude has a massive effect on the way you feel,” she added.
“And if you’re feeling really low after all the family members have gone home, you’ve got no money.
“Even when you’re struggling to find something to be grateful for, there is always something.
“You can be grateful the fact that you woke up in the morning, lots of people around the world never get that chance to wake up.
“Be grateful you have air to breathe. Be grateful you have a roof over your head. Be grateful you have food in the fridge.
“It’s the small things you can be grateful for, and that generates a culture where you then find more things to be grateful for.”
Create a positive outlook
Vickie recommends starting a gratitude journal, a place where you can chronicle things you’re thankful for.
Write first in the morning and then right before going to bed.
“It starts you on a really good mindset for the rest of the day,” she added.
“Because if you start the day by stubbing your toe, if you don’t know how to reel that back and change that, it can very quickly alter your whole day.
“Focus on what you’re grateful for, even when you’re feeling really low, because that can really change your thoughts around.”
Remember: ‘The road to success is never straight’
“Even though you’re feeling blue, setting goals is a way to increase your motivation.
“The feeling of accomplishment can make you feel better,” Vickie added.
“It can be as small as making sure you go for a walk every day, or just taking small steps.”
Setting up a goal for the New Year can give you something to look forward to as you overcome your January blues.
And it can be done one small step at a time, like going to the gym more often or trying to quit smoking.
Vickie said: “Break things down into tiny little steps and evaluate them on a regular basis.
“Why didn’t I achieve it? What could I do wrong? What do I need to change?
“The road to success is never straight, it’s up and down.
“Expect the failures, but then learn to readjust. Keep the goal in mind, but maybe readjust that journey.”
And most importantly: Take time out to breathe
January can be an overwhelming and monotonous month.
It signals the return for our regular routines and reminders of stresses we might have been distracted from while enjoying the holidays.
Vickie said to stop us from going down a “rabbit hole” of pessimism, just five minutes of deep breathing a day can help calm us.
“Set a reminder in your phone, maybe in the morning, lunchtime, in the evening.
“Just take five minutes for some deep breaths.
“Re-centre yourself. The problem nowadays is that we don’t breathe enough.
“We don’t take long deep breaths, which our body needs. We’re quite shallow breathers because we’re all so stressed.
“So, when we take slow, deep breaths, that settles us. It centres the mind.
“If your mind starts to wander and you’re going down that rabbit hole of darkness, then take five minutes just to do the deep breathing.
“It gets you back to the present instead of your mind going off on all these tangents when life’s just too much.
“Just live in the present for that five minutes and then carry on with the day.”
Mindfulness coach Vickie has also been sharing her personal journey on her website.