BlogHolistic and natural approaches to staying motivated during January

Holistic and natural approaches to staying motivated during January

9 min read

Lucy MacKinnon

When December comes to a close, a lot of us adopt a ‘new year, new me’ philosophy and are eager to set targets and new year resolutions to become the best version of ourselves. While we set our sights high, sometimes despite our best interest, the cold, dark and busy winters can feel draining, and finding the motivation to keep up momentum can be a challenge.


So, this week for Wellness Wednesday we’ve decided to tackle holistic, natural and alternative approaches to staying focussed, energised, and motivated - so that you can start off on the right foot, and turn over a new leaf in 2024.

A lack of energy, focus, and motivation

Rejuvenating focus, energy, and motivation in the winter months can seem like a tricky task. 

But, understanding how the end of the festive season can affect your energy and concentration levels may just stop you from feeling snowed under, so that you can wipe the slate clean this January. 

Dark days and low moods

Even if you think you’re more of a night-owl, the limited number of daylight hours available in winter can negatively impact your health and wellbeing in several ways, which can make finding the energy to focus on new tasks difficult. 

This is because sunlight plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythms, and therefore, influences our mood. During the winter months, people often feel more tired or encounter changes in their sleeping pattern because of this, which can also have a negative impact on energy and motivation levels. 

Cold climates and motivation

The bitter chill of winter can also seriously affect our ability to stay motivated, and often the thought of snuggling up under a blanket with a hot drink can be a lot more tempting than bracing the cold. 

Because our hearts have to work harder in colder climates, it can cause us to feel more tired, and our brains become aware of this. Sometimes this can cause the brain to perceive the cold weather as an obstacle or a barrier as a means of protection, making it a battle of will to summon up the motivation to get up and go. 

Exhausted emotions and energy

For some, the constant celebrations, social engagements, and communal gatherings that come along with Christmas can feel overwhelming or draining, and the thought of facing the world again fills them with fatigue.

The added financial and social stresses or responsibilities that crop up during the Christmas period, and a disruption in daily routines can also negatively affect mental health, which can have a domino effect on our physical health, influencing appetite, memory, sleep and so much more, and so it is important to listen to our emotions and take those well-needed breaks - especially in January. 

Lifestyle adaption: Enhancing energy, focus and motivation naturally

Often our New Year’s Resolutions focus on improving our lifestyle or way of life in some way or another. For some, their goal may be to take a more cautious approach to sugary foods and alcohol or to quit smoking. But for others, developing these healthy habits may allow them to be used as stepping stones to help achieve a larger goal, such as saving up a lump sum of money, or improving their current fitness levels. 

Cigarettes and alcohol

Typically, when a person quits smoking, they feel a boost in their energy levels. This is because their lung capacity has started to improve, and they become less fatigued, which can make it easier to set their mind to, and accomplish, other tasks. 

Reducing your alcohol intake can also help you to stay motivated, because it improves overall sleep quality, allowing you to concentrate and focus better during the day. 

Positive changes to diet

Other popular lifestyle adaptations that may help you stay energised and focused also include making other positive changes to your diet, such as exercising restraint when it comes to added sugars, or just exercising in general. 

Although sugar is an energy source, added sugars like those in sweets and cakes don’t provide enough energy to sustain the body properly. Instead, they often provide a sharp spike or boost in energy, followed by a crash or big drop in blood sugar levels, which can have detrimental effects on a persons' ability to stay motivated.

Swapping these out for foods containing healthy natural sugars, like fresh berries or dried fruits, doesn’t add an additional step into your day, and it may give you more energy so that you can focus on your new goal. 

Engaging in exercise 

Last, but certainly not least, incorporating some form of exercise into your daily routine not only enhances concentration, motivation and mood, but also your overall health and wellbeing. 

When we exercise, we produce higher levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which can improve our levels of focus, concentration, and attention. Ensuring we engage in enough exercise doesn’t only benefit our physical health, but also our general wellbeing and state of mind. 

Boosting brain function: Incorporating natural ingredients and herbal supplements

In addition to lifestyle adaptations, some feel incorporating natural ingredients and herbal supplements into their diet has a positive effect on their energy and concentration levels, and can therefore help with motivation and focus.

Traditional herbal medicines

For millennia, traditional medicines and alternative herbal remedies have been used to aid in these areas, and many ingredients that are still widely used today have strong roots in this type of medicine.

Ashwagandha, Baccopa Monnieri, and Rhodiola Rosea have been collectively praised over the years for their effects on concentration, exhaustion, information processing, and reaction speed, and so these ingredients are often used in holistic practices when tackling a lack of motivation. 

Herbs and spices

Other natural and herbal ingredients that show promise in this area are available at more conventional outlets, and include ginseng, peppermint, sage, and rosemary. Ginseng and Sage are both praised for their anti-fatigue properties and ability to enhance or stimulate cognitive function, and peppermint and rosemary are both popular choices because of their potential to improve cognitive speed, accuracy, and alertness. 

These herbs and spices can be easily incorporated into your diet, and are a gentle, healthy alternative to fizzy energy drinks, which come with a long list of troublesome side effects when used in excess. 

CBD and medical cannabis

In some cases, CBD, or even medicinal cannabis, may be able to benefit or increase focus, concentration, and mood. This is because CBD, the major non-psychoactive component in cannabis, has shown to relieve anxiety and improve mood - which may make it easier to break those old habits, or adopt a new one. 

THC, the other major cannabinoid in cannabis, has also shown some potential in boosting focus or energy because of its ability to bind to CB1 receptors in the brain. CB1 receptors are heavily involved in managing and regulating motivation, learning, memory, reward, and control, so when THC binds to them - it is able to influence these functions.

For these reasons, cannabis-based treatments have shown promising therapeutic effects in the management of ADHD symptoms, but research in this field is relatively limited. On the other hand, long term, chronic cannabis use has also been associated with a blunting of the brain’s dopamine production, and so it is extremely important to explore these options with guidance from a qualified healthcare professional. 

Helpful holistic practices: Stimulating mental clarity 

Taking part in holistic practices can be incredibly beneficial for mental clarity, which can, in turn, benefit motivation, energy, and focus levels. Incorporating some of these helpful, holistic practices into your daily life has the potential to not only improve your wellbeing and level of self-care, but will also contribute to improved focus and concentration. 

Mindfulness and relaxation 

As previously mentioned, when we are stressed and anxious it is much harder to focus and concentrate, and so, taking care of our mental health is extremely important - especially when we want to become more motivated.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are great tools to help improve self-care. Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help in reducing anxiety and stress because they invite clarity and calm into your life, and give you the ability to approach tasks and challenges with a refreshed and focussed mindset. 

Establish a routine

Establishing, and sticking to, a daily routine greatly benefits mental clarity and having a well-structured schedule allows for predictability and a sense of order. This will help create a regular sleeping pattern, designated work hours, and allocate time for leisure activities or time to achieve that new goal. 

By having a routine, you can ensure your body and mind are primed for the tasks at hand, and your ability to concentrate and stay motivated will benefit greatly. 

Celebrate your progress

Last, but certainly not least, make sure to celebrate your progress and acknowledge your development. Recognising your progress is crucial to keeping up momentum while working towards your new goal.

Journaling is an extremely popular, and powerful way of doing this, because it allows you to reflect on your achievements and record your journey. Having a tangible product to show your progress can often help with motivation, because acknowledging even the small victories can greatly boost morale and help sustain focus.  

Whatever your goal is, if you want to kickstart 2024 with a refreshed attitude, and improved motivation, energy and focus, perhaps try some of these natural and holistic techniques this January. 

Good luck, we believe in you!

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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With five years of journalism and healthcare content creation under her belt, Lucy strives to improve medical cannabis awareness and access in the UK by producing high quality, credible content.

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