January is probably the worst month of the year. After a great time being on holiday in December, so many commitments come up that leave you feeling stressed. There’s rent to think about, school fees to pay and you still need to buy food and cater for transport to and from work. It’s become a month most of us refer to as “Njaa-nuary” or “Janu-worry”.

As much as we feel like it’s a long and stressful month, there are a few hacks you can use to get through it. Here are some that are guaranteed to make your January much better and simpler to get through.

The first thing you need to do is re-think your luxuries. Ask yourself if you really need to pay for the full bouquet of DSTV or if your kids really need those outings to watch movies and have frozen yogurt. You can save up some cash and stretch it through the whole month by giving up all those extra treats you’re used to. Only buy and pay for the essentials.

January can also be a great month if you stay away form quick cash loans. It’s always tempting to get money form friends or the bank. But this decision could come back to bite you. It will make the month seem much longer as you anticipate having to start paying back the cash with your February salary. If it’s not a life or death emergency, don’t get a cash loan.

I’ve come to learn that the 4-mintue rule can help January seem less dismal. The rule simply means that for the first 4 minutes when you walk into a room or meet someone you should try and be the best version of yourself. Spend those four minutes thinking and doing positive things and it will trickle down to everything you do. The stress will dwindle down and each day becomes shorter and the month ends before you know it.

Buying on credit is a trend we get into in January. Try and avoid this as much as possible. You could end up taking goods on credit from many people and end up playing hide and seek as they hound you for payment. This situation will only add to your stress levels.

The one thing that will definitely work is having a plan. Don’t focus on the negative. Organize your day and schedule and plan how to get through the month. Think about all the thinks that need to be done urgently and move down the list. As you get through your agenda it will become easier as you aren’t juggling too many things and you will meet your deadlines in a less stressful way.

It’s not mid-month and you can therefore try out these tips. January doesn’t have to bring tears to your eyes.