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Being happy in January – taking control of the mental load

It’s most unlike me but I am happy in January – combination of being organised, focused and grateful for the simple, little things. I’m trying to change my perspective this year – less negative and more positive, appreciative, controlling what I can control and trying to let go of stress.

January can be a bleak month – the weather, Christmas is done, the tax return and just the feeling of starting the treadmill of another year. And I usually struggle a bit but this year feels different.

I’m trying to be more positive and focused and appreciative of the small things in life, the things that really matter – family and friends, home, health, o business I love, enjoying a good book or movie, getting out for a walk.

I’m trying to silence my inner critic by taking control of it – lists and writing seem to be helping and it’s there for when imposter syndrome kicks in as well!

Acceptance is a huge part of managing perspective and mental health. I am a worrier and part-time catastrophiser – why worry about small stuff when I can blow fears way out of proportion. But I am writing all of this down as well – it is helping me to see a combination of things – some of the fears are reasonable (something happening to my children) but that they are probably unrealistic and they out of my control anyway because I can’t lock the children in the attic to protect them from the world.

No-one is immune from mental health struggles – it might not be depression but it could be anxiety or stress, feeling chaotic, overwhelmed, burnt out or not good enough which can impact our perspective, mood, energy and physical health.

And managing our mental health can be about being honest about the challenges, finding what eases it, what controls it and keeping on top of it. Mental health takes work – in the same way as physical fitness takes work. If mental health is ignored, it has a way of grabbing our attention and then it could be harder to manage.


Books and podcasts can help as well – with perspective, knowledge, strategies and experiences. The ones that have helped me most in the last couple of years have been:

Ruby Wax:

Books – How To Be Human, Frazzled & Sane New World
Podcast – No Brainer plus guest spots on Happy Place

Matt Haig:
Reasons To Stay Alive & Notes On A Nervous Planet

Happy Place:
Fearne Cotton’s podcast with celebrities who talk about their mental health and their coping strategies.

Bryony Gordon:
Mad Girl
Eat, Drink, Run

Griefcast:
A podcast with Cariad Lloyd talking to comedians about death and grief


It’s become a bit of a cliché but self care is really important – I know all too well how hard it is to do as a mum, to put yourself first and to take a bit of time out. Sometimes we need to reassess life and everything being juggle – can something go or be passed on to someone else? What can be prioritised? What do you need?


Janine Smith – a specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting
Birth Preparation | Postnatal Sessions | Baby Massage | Weaning | 1:1 Parent Support

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Mum, Wife, Friend, Me. Also a fan of podcasts, gin, walking, birth and working with parents. I am a warm, sensitive, straight-talking, down-to-earth practitioner; I am a professional listener – people often feel very comfortable opening up to me about their experiences, fears, challenges and struggles – and I also know a thing or two about pregnancy, birth, babies and supporting parents.