January Blues

January Blues

Urgh. It's that time of year again. We're trying to be full of new year resolutions; getting up at the crack of dawn, fulfilling our new and unrealistic exercise regimes, whilst eating better, staying away from booze and having a sensible number of early nights. Mostly, we're full of Christmas cheese, clawing our way out of bed 2 minutes before certain lateness and feeling like we want to hibernate. Or is it just me?

January is probably the worst time to make resolutions. The winter months are all about conserving energy, rebuilding, taking things slow. We would do better taking our cues from nature here. You walk through a forest today and what do you see? Not much! All the trees and plants, creatures too, are hunkering down. Without this necessary recovery period, how would the woodland burst into spring?!

Whilst we should be taking it slow, it's hard not to be sucked into the 'new year, new you' marketing, and ultimately feel like a failure, when two weeks into the new year you haven't ticked all those boxes, and kept up with your to-do list which would have quite frankly, daunted an army.

This time of year, can make you prone to feelings of depression, lethargy and irritability. It is the time of year when we are most likely to suffer sleep issues, to overeat or eat poorly, and to isolate ourselves, finding it is too much effort to go out, meet people and socialise.


So, what can we do?

1. Understand that this is normal

There are biological reasons why sometimes we feel low and lack energy during January, and understanding that feeling this way is a natural response to the season can help. Winter is a time to rebuild, recover and rest. Both your mind and body are set to help you do this.

2. Keep Active

Remember when we were all taking our daily one-hour lockdown walks? Didn't you always feel better for it? Okay, at the time it was the only thing we were allowed to do, which did make it more exciting, but there was good reason we were told to get outside and move... it is good for us!

Regular exercise reduces stress. It releases endorphins which give your body positive feelings of happiness. And the key is 'regular' and not 'intense'. A walk, gentle jog or yoga class is perfect.

3. Keep warm

Being cold makes you feel down. It is hard to concentrate or to stay positive when your body temperature drops.

Whilst fuel costs soar, you can stay warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wearing cosy warm clothes and shoes, and moving your body regularly will also help.

4. Eat healthily

It is normal to crave hearty, carb-heavy foods at this time of year, but a balanced, healthy diet will boost your mood as well as giving you more energy.

Sugar crashes are unhealthy and cause tiredness. Make sure to balance your carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

5. Sleep Zzzzz

Healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and new research suggests that humans may need more sleep during the dark winter months than they do during the summer. Reduce screen time in the evenings, have a hot drink before bed, or use lavender to aid a more peaceful rest.

6. Take up a new hobby

Getting creative or learning a new skill is an ideal way to keep your mind active and ward off symptoms of depression in winter. It could be anything that takes your interest, the important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.

7. See your friends and family

Going out on a dark, wet and cold evening, isn't always appealing, but socialising is good for your mental health! Make an effort to keep in touch with people, and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while. It'll do you good.

8. Practice gratitude

Start every day with a positive thought, and keep reminding yourself of it throughout the day too. Try to notice, and focus on the positive things taking place around you, no matter how small. Be grateful for a good night’s sleep, meeting your deadlines, or finding out your favourite TV show is back. Every time you have a moment of positivity, you draw your focus away from the negatives. Treasure the little and unexpected wins and celebrate all your achievements.

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