It’s a well-known fact that January can be a miserable month for many. The joy and cheer the festive period brings has disappeared and has taken a big chunk of your bank balance with it. The weather is cold and gloomy, your car needs defrosting in the mornings (usually on the days you’re running late), and let’s not even get onto the topic of dry January!

However, despite all this, there is still so much to smile about in January. It’s about focusing on the positives, and not letting the little things get you down. It’s also important to remember that there are many people who are also feeling down in the dumps, so you’re not alone.

As a healthcare professional, you’re used to dealing with sad and difficult situations. You witness people at their lowest and you regularly see people lose the ones they love most, so we understand that it may be difficult to remain upbeat. This is why we want to help.

First of all, we thought it would be nice to give you 10 things that you can smile about today:

  • It’s almost guaranteed that you’re the reason someone smiled today
  • You have a positive impact on hundreds of lives every year
  • You’re successful. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today, you should be proud of yourself
  • Many people will think of you fondly until the day they die, even if you don’t remember them
  • In a scary world of cruelty and disharmony, you are a ray of sunshine that instills faith in humanity
  • Forcing a smile actually makes you happier. Even if you’re down in the dumps, putting a smile on—even if you don’t feel like it—can literally trick your brain into thinking there’s something to smile about
  • Your dog dreams about you – Harvard psychologists have suggested that, when dogs dream, they dream about their owners, because their REM cycles and brain patterns are similar ours
  • Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine; he could have patented it and made an estimated $7 billion but purposely didn’t. When asked why, he said “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
  • In Sweden, blood donors get a text when their donation is used, letting them know that they’ve helped save a life.
  • Bluestones Medical and Bluestones Medical Complex Care have the best team of Medical Marvels there is!

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Now that you’re smiling from ear to ear, we wanted to give you some tips on how you can keep it that way. Life isn’t always full of roses, but there is always a way to improve things:

  • Be polite to rude strangers, it’s oddly thrilling
  • Take your headphones out when walking – listen to the world
  • Plant spring bulbs, even if they’re just in a pot
  • Set aside 10 minutes per day to do something you really enjoy
  • Keep your keys in the same place
  • Bring fruit to work
  • Ask questions & listen to the answers
  • Don’t save things for “best.” Wear them – enjoy them
  • Call an old friend out of the blue
  • Say hello to your neighbors
  • Keep a bird feeder by a window, ideally in the kitchen. It’ll pass time when you’re washing up
  • Laugh shamelessly at your own jokes
  • For instant cheer, wear yellow
  • Sing, just because
  • Give compliments widely and freely
  • Politely decline invitations if you don’t want to go
  • Do that thing you’ve been putting off
  • Set up an affordable standing order to charity

With the world that we’re living in and the experiences that healthcare workers have been through, it’s understandable if you’re struggling to find a reason to smile. You’re not alone. However, we would like to encourage you to talk to a friend, family member, work colleague, manager, and even a member of the team here if you’re struggling. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

The January blues are normal, but if you’re constantly feeling sad and depressed, please get help. Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans any time, from any phone for FREE on 116 123. Sometimes, writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better. If this is the case for you, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

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