Column: Keep busy to help overcome any feelings of loneliness

Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31 – except January, writes Kate Hull Rodgers.

January has at least 100 days. Maybe 101! Am I wrong or is it just me? Doesn’t January seem to go on for ever and ever? Surely New Year’s Eve was last year.

Of course it was. But hopefully you get my point.

Christmas is now a distant memory, only brought into the present by the arrival of a very heavy credit card bill. Dark mornings and dark evenings have long been the norm.

Kate Hull Rodgers, guest columnist.

So what are we to do as we anxiously turn our sights to the coming of spring?

I am sure I’m not the only one to check for green shoots in the garden. I could swear I’ve seen the sprouting of the daffodils. But still I wait.

Still, I hunker down, endure the short days and wait for better times.

Surely there is something more proactive I can do. Surely there is a way that I can spend my time more productively. And, of course, there is.

“Get a journal and make a list of all the things you have enjoyed this winter, all the people you would like to see more of”, writes Kate Hull Rodgers.​

I can now cultivate all those relationships that I touched on during Christmas and New Year.

Winter potentially is a lonely time. A time of isolation. We must fight this by taking the initiative and keeping ourselves busy. Think back over the last month and a half.

Did you have a Christmas lunch where you had a conversation you particularly enjoyed and would like to continue? Well then, contact that person now. Ask them out for lunch. Or coffee. Or a pint.

Was there a cousin you saw at your uncle’s who was particularly funny? Well then, contact that relative now. Ask them out to a movie; or a football game or a home visit.

Was there a friend you saw briefly? Call them and catch up. Friends are for life, not just for Christmas.

This active approach to January is not just about growing and cultivating relationships, it is also about taking part in activities, sometimes alone.

Did you enjoy the after lunch walk you took on Christmas Day? Remember how you enjoyed communing with nature. The beautiful trees, the breathtaking sky.

Well then, get your boots on and get outside. You don’t need anyone’s permission to go for a walk.

Spring is coming but there is nothing we can do to make it come more quickly. There are, however, many things we can do to make it feel like time is moving faster. Get busy.

Get a journal and make a list of all the things you have enjoyed this winter, all the people you would like to see more of.

Next to this column, make a list of all the ways in which you can see these people or partake in these activities.

Research the people you want to see. Get their contact number. Befriend them on social media. If you don’t want to feel overcome with loneliness, boredom or winter blues – you have to get busy.

It is easy to have mental ill health; you do nothing.

But, to have good mental health; you work, you cultivate and you seize and create opportunities.

Well then, get your boots on and go and get on with it! Happy new you.

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