Beating the January Blues
Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year as last month’s festivities start to seem like a distant memory. Given that it’s not too far away we’re being proactive with some top tips on how to avoid the January blues and maintain your wellbeing:
1. Remember it is normal to feel this way
There are many reasons why people feel low and lack energy during the darker winter months. Some are biological so it’s helpful to understand that this is a natural response and that the feeling will pass.
2. Beware resolutions!
Make sure you’re not wracked with guilt if you’ve not made a start yet – that’s not the best long term motivator. Make sure that resolutions aren’t too vague, such as “save money”, “be more organised” or “lose weight”. Instead, make sure it’s specific, manageable and measurable.
3. Do something new
Every year is different. How will you make this one different rather than waiting for it to happen to you? On your own or with a friend, throw ideas around till you find one thing you’d love to achieve, do or learn this year that feels exciting. Work out the steps you need to take. Make a plan and take that first step.
4. Get active
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve wellbeing and mood. The good news is that it doesn’t have to mean getting hot and sweaty – using the stairs instead of the lift, a short brisk walk is perfect (and ticks off number 8 as well, number 10 too if you go with a friend.) You may not want to, but the endorphin release guarantees you’ll feel better afterwards.
5. Address any worries
If you think you have specific things that are making you anxious or sad, make a list and add possible solutions. Writing things down can help identify simple solutions such as: “ask someone for help”. Once you’ve admitted it and identified it, you can then action it.
6. Read for pleasure
It can be hard to find either time or the will to pick up your book when you had a long day. But reading for pleasure has both health benefits and burying yourself in a book of your choice is a great way to take your mind off the cold. Rediscover your love of reading.
7. Eat healthily
We all know what comfort eating is: feeling down, being drawn to sugar and junk food, eating way too much. Make sure you’re eating a good, varied diet with things like nuts, fruit and veg, dairy, fish, pulses and grains. What we put in our bodies makes a difference so treat it like school and get organised: plan meals in advance to prepare for the week.
8. Get as much daylight as possible
A lack of daylight is partly why people suffer ‘winter blues’ especially as working hours are spent inside. It may be chilly but why not grab those break duties to take every chance to be outside during the day, especially on Blue Monday!
9. See a doctor (if necessary)
If your low mood has been severe and is lasting more than a couple of weeks, you may want to see a GP, in case you need treatment. There is nothing wrong in reaching out for help.
10. Surround yourself with support
Find someone to talk to – a family member, a friend or a trusted colleague or another adult. Many of your friends and peers may be having similar feelings so why not team up with a friend to support each other? If someone you talk to doesn’t understand, do not be disheartened but instead try someone else.
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