This time of the year often gets people people a bit blue, when dealing with long nights and cold weather, it can often be easy to let it affect your mood.
So here's a checklist of things to do that will get you feeling considerably better and keep the blues at bay!
Tip one: Understand that this is normal
Many people will be going through the same or similar feelings, but you may not realise it. Understanding that it is a natural response is helpful.
The restrictions we’ve been under due to the pandemic also means we still may not be able to be as connected as we might like to be. The ‘new normal’ has meant we’ve had to adapt how we interact, yet social interactions are important. Try not to become isolated and connect with other people for support. We all need someone to talk to.
Tip two: Get as much daylight as possible
Lack of daylight is partly why people suffer from “The January Blues”. Not getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, has been shown to decrease our happiness and leaves us feeling down in the dumps. The sunlight can make you feel better and also help to regulate your sleep cycles properly. Exposure to natural light increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood.
Tip three: Keep fit and stay active
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, help improve self-esteem level and relieve depressive tendencies as exercise releases endorphins which gives your body a positive feeling of happiness. The exercise can take any form, even if it is just gentle or moderate activities like a bootcamp, yoga or even a brief lunchtime walk.
Tip four: Avoid unrealistic New Year’s resolutions
One of the reasons why people suffer from the January Blues is that they are overly ambitious with their New Year’s resolutions and are left feeling unhappy when they can’t fulfil them. Making resolutions to better yourself is a good thing, but make sure they are things you can stick to. Avoid difficult and vague resolutions such as “save money”, “be more organised” and make sure it is one you can actually achieve and measure.
Tip five: Eat properly
It is normal for us to want more fatty and heavy food during the cold months of winter. Apart from being very unhealthy, sugar crashes cause tiredness and make you crave food unnecessarily. You can improve how you feel by eating a good, varied diet with things like oily fish and take extra vitamin D – the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of protein and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Tip six: Sleep well
National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health and lead you feeling irritable, anxious and worried. Try to reduce screen time in the evenings to let your brain switch off and allow for a good quality of sleep.
Tip seven: Drink water
Being dehydrated throws off the delicate dopamine and serotonin balances in the brain, natural chemicals that can increase/affect depression and anxiety. One of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your mood is by drinking a glass (or two!) of water. Getting hydrated can quite literally calm your nerves.
Tip eight: 3 positives about the day
Stating 3 positives from the day, at the end of the day when you're in bed or something, closes out the day with a great deal of positivity and gives you a mood lift right before you drift off to sleep, to then restart the truly positive day again!