This is a question I hear being thrown around at the beginning of every year. ‘How to beat the January blues’?
Let’s be realistic. As exciting as it is to be entering a new year, and having all these new ambitions and goals. It’s depressing to go back to the norm after being off work and enjoying the holiday season.
Christmas and New Year is a fun time for most of us. It’s been non-stop partying, catching up with friends, drinking, eating good food, and making memories.
In contrast, January is a hangover from all of that. You’ve built up bills and spend most of your money. The days are short, dark, and the weather is wet and gloomy.
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or depression it’s going to be a tough few weeks to get over this hump. A lot of people will hit their lowest point in January.
If you are feeling down and you can’t really put a pin in exactly what it is making you feel this way. It’s possibly SAD and you need to find a way how to beat the January blues to lift your spirits.
If you’re depressed you will be experiencing physiological and psychological changes. Your sleeping pattern will be disturbed. You will not be eating normally, and you will lose a lot of your spark to go out and be productive.
You will start looking at the world differently. Being a lot more negative than usual, and expecting the worse from situations. Possibly even digging up old memories and blaming yourself for things that were not in your control.
It’s normal to feel a lot more irritable and annoyed at little things too. You will be well aware that this is happening. Yet can’t do anything to stop yourself getting so annoyed easily.
So when it comes to how to beat the January blues, here are some tips that will help you get back to your usual self.
Exercise is probably the number one way to get yourself back into a more positive state of mind and beat those blues.
You boost your immune system, your mood, and you feel a lot better physically. It’s a lifestyle to adopt, not just a phase.
With regular exercise you will release endorphin’s – a feel good naturally occurring chemical. You will beat those January blues for sure.
There is mounting evidence that eating well is not just good for our physical well-being, but our mental well-being too.
One of the first things a lot of people with depression do is turn to junk comfort food. This is the wrong thing to do. Instead you should be eating fruit and drinking plenty of water.
Fish are good for the brain. As well as nuts and certain vegetables. Spend time preparing meals too. Give yourself something to do and appreciate the food.
When you practice being mindful you are focusing on the present. It’s helps put everything into perspective and can really lift a persons mood.
I covered some mindfulness meditation techniques recently. They are easy to do and only take a few minutes. Yet are incredibly powerful and can change your life.
The beauty of mindfulness techniques is that it’s something you can do at home without the help of anyone else too. So no excuses not to try.
Make the Effort to Be Social
As hard as it is you need to be social when you’re suffering from the January blues. Being involved in your support network of friends and family is incredibly important.
If you cut off all face-to-face contact you are digging yourself a hole. If you are part of any clubs or meets continue to go even if you’re feeling low.
It’s amazing how often seeing a familiar face smiling can help lift spirits. Or chatting with friends about how you’re feeling.
Join or Start a New Social Activity
Linked in with the last point. If you don’t have any social gatherings to go to, join a club or start a new hobby.
There are no shortage of clubs, regardless where you live. This might be a good time to start yoga or some other fitness activity. Get into shape and do some exercise to tick off on of the other points.
Don’t Feel Ashamed to Ask for Help
Suffering in silence is all too common. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help if it’s becoming all too much.
Depression and SAD are conditions that worsen quickly if you don’t start getting help. Your friends and family will be more than happy to help in any way they can,
Don’t rule out professional help either. If your day-to-day life is being affected, consult your Dr and explain your situation. There is a lot that can be done.
Recharge the Batteries with a Break
Taking a break can do you a world of good. This can be in the form of a holiday, or just disconnecting from the hectic world you live in for a few days.
Sometimes there is a hidden stress keeping up with all the emails and notifications we receive daily. We don’t realize the wight that lifts off our shoulders until we turn off the phone for a few days.
Get Some Quality Sleep
Put some good sleep habits in place and make sure you are getting quality sleep. This is vital to good mental health.
With these tips you have all the tools you need to beat those January blues. Or any other reason you may be feeling particularly down.
I know it’s cold and gloomy outside. But it doesn’t have to be dark and gloomy inside you.
This is how to beat the January blues and not let them get you down. Good luck and happy New Year!
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.