Let’s face it, January can be the most miserable month of the year for many of us. After the parties and presents of Christmas, returning to the nine to five can seem daunting at best, frightful at worst. Funds are low, bills are looming and you’re already struggling to keep your New Year resolutions – plenty of reason to want to hibernate from the real world.

It’s common for people to start questioning their career path in January. Tackling your heavy workload, long commute or difficult colleague has never been more tiresome. It’s also natural to compare your job and lifestyle with those you reunited with over the holidays. Your cousin’s high-profile role at a top multinational or your college friend’s sun-soaked life in Australia has you questioning what could have been – and what could be.

Before you do anything rash, we’d urge you to stop for a minute and consider this – it’s not your job, it’s January!

Stop comparing yourself

Feeling underwhelmed by your job is completely normal at this time of the year, even for those in their “dream jobs”. One common complaint is pay-related – it’s easy to start questioning your salary when your overdraft is in dire straits and you’ve maxed out all your credit cards. It’s important to take responsibility for your own lack of budgeting here. Even if you had your dream job, it’s very likely you would still be feeling the financial burn at this time of the year.  

Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Living in a social media-driven, image-conscious world, we’re used to comparing our mundane day-to-day tasks with everyone else’s seemingly exciting lives and workplaces. At the end of the day, however, a job’s a job and others on the outside are probably thinking the exact same thing about you.

Upgrade your routine

Part of your frustration may also be due to messed up sleeping, eating and socialising patterns – chances are you weren’t getting up at 7am every morning over the holidays! It’s no wonder you’re finding the return to work physically and mentally draining.

The best way to cope with this is to embrace routine, not rebel against it. If you have a very early start, plan your breakfast and outfit the night before to avoid feeling rushed in the morning. Make the most of your commute by downloading a new podcast series or cracking into that page-turning novel.  We’re big advocates of sleep here at Cpl – studies have proven that getting plenty of shuteye also helps to improve your mood and concentration in the workplace.

Learn new things

January is the perfect time to discover fulfilling activities inside and outside of the workplace. If you’re feeling undervalued in your role, it may be worthwhile considering the professional development courses available to you. Many companies are very open to covering the cost of a training course if it will be a benefit to you in the workplace. Developing your skillset helps to increase your self-confidence and sets you up for promotions down the line. With many courses beginning in January, you have no excuses!

Reinvigorate your working life

No job is perfect – there’s a reason it’s called work. Try to pinpoint exactly what you don’t like in your current role and the steps you can take towards changing this. If you feel stuck in a rut, it may be worthwhile speaking with you manager about getting experience in another area. Happy employees are better employees so he or she is very likely to listen to your request.

Feeling undervalued? Maybe it’s time you put yourself forward as the leader of an upcoming project or present a brand new strategy plan to prove your worth. Breaking up your mundane tasks with exciting new challenges is a wonderful way of revamping your job in 2016.

Be aware that everyone feels a little miserable at this time of year and that work- yes, even your job – has its own advantages. Make the most of being back to normality and embrace all the things you’ve missed over the holidays, whether it’s a coffee date with your workmate or usual lunchtime gym class. If your feelings of disappointment and negativity persist into spring, then consider looking for opportunities elsewhere but, for now, rest easy. 

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