It’s that time of year when the fun of Christmas is over and we’re faced with a return to normality. We’ve probably over indulged on good food and spent a little too much money, not to mention the cold and dark weather outside. After the excitement and bustle of the Christmas season, it’s completely natural to feel a little down at this time of year. The January blues are a very real thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to get them! There are plenty of things we can do to see us through this miserable month, so here are a few of our tips.
Going outside may be the last thing you want to do, but making the effort to go for a 20 minute walk can make you feel much better. Even mild exercise releases endorphins, pretty much guaranteeing a boost to our mood. This doesn’t have to be a trudge to the gym, but can be a quick trip to the shops or walk through our local park - just enough to keep your body moving. Not getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), has been shown to decrease our happiness and leaves us feeling down in the dumps. January is a dark month, so it’s even more important to get outside whenever we can. What if it’s raining I hear you ask? Well, you’ll have to grab your umbrella!
When we’re feeling down, we have a tendency to withdraw from friends and family, even though these are the very people who can help us feel better. If we isolate ourselves, we can get caught up in overthinking and worrying, making our mood worse and creating a vicious cycle. This is especially important after the social frenzy of Christmas and New Year. Have friends over for a movie night, give your mum a phone call or arrange a quiet one at your local pub. Making the effort to see your loved ones will help you to feel connected and prevent your mind from falling into negative thought patterns.
If you can, take the time to treat yourself at least once a week. Run a warm bubble bath, watch your favourite film or head out for a delicious meal. Doing something we really enjoy will inevitably lift our spirits and make us feel better, no matter how miserable we’re feeling. It also gives us something to look forward to, leaving us with a sense of anticipation that can get us through even the most miserable day at the office.
During the cold months, it’s natural for us to crave fatty, carb heavy foods, and this is linked to a lack of sunshine and cooler temperatures. However, filling ourselves with junk food will inevitably lead to spikes in blood sugar, causing crashes which create tiredness and fatigue - the last things we need when we’re feeling low!
Getting plenty of fresh food into our diets will help our heads stay clear and our bodies happy, improving our mood and getting us through the day. Of course, there’s always time for a little treat! In moderation, treating ourselves to our favourite cake or that little pastry will make us feel happier, and we can all do with these little boosts in the cold January months.