Well, it’s January again, another new year! No more back to back partying, feasting and making merry, flicking the ‘snooze’ button and snuggling further down under the duvet. Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations, for many people in the UK, mean time off from the usual responsibilities, university, work etc. But now, here we are already, back to reality and the daily slog.
Cold, dark, dismal weather, lack of sleep and excess food and drink leave us feeling sluggish, overweight and frankly, a bit miserable and longing for a little sunshine in our lives. In fact, ‘Blue Monday’ is a name given to the third Monday in the month of January which is thought to be the most depressing day of the year, this year it was 21st January, 2019.
So, do you see it as a new beginning, a time to take stock, to set goals and introduce positive changes in your life? Are you tired of overindulging and feeling like a sloth and are keen to leap feet first back into the real world, or do you have the January blues? The post-holiday slump?
Many people probably have a combination of these feelings, so, be kind to yourself. Whether it’s back to the dreaded January exams, a demanding daily routine or a challenging job and responsibilities. Here are a few tips to make January more bearable.
Make your immediate surroundings cosy, welcoming and cheerful. Bring some of the outside inside! Colourful flowers and lush green plants are a reminder of spring and summer and can lighten and brighten our mood. Seasonal decorations may have been put back into storage until next year, but, there is no reason to store fairy lights and candles. Dark evenings are the perfect time to indulge in soft, cosy lighting while relaxing and keeping warm after a busy day so, kick off your shoes and light up those scented candles.
Despite the weather, there is no reason to stay inside and hibernate until spring. Physical activity can lift your mood, give you more energy and improve your quality of sleep. Winter walks can be pleasurable, so wrap up warmly and head out into the great outdoors for much needed fresh air and natural light. Sunlight is important to boost vitamin D levels. (Inadequate vitamin D levels can contribute to feeling ‘low’ in winter months so it’s maybe a good idea to read about supplements.) Head off to local beauty spots, parks, beaches etc that will be much quieter this time of year and embrace nature and your surroundings. Alternately walk around your local town or city, taking more note of local landmarks and interests, or simply have a brisk walk to the shops. You’ll be fulfilling at least thirty minutes a day of the recommended exercise levels without effort and be on the receiving end of the associated health benefits. However, the primary objective is to have fun and enjoy the experience.
Indulge yourself with delicious but healthy food. Resist the calorie laden, heavy, stodgy food that we seem to crave in winter which result in our bodies feeling ‘heavy and stodgy’! Research a few new recipes and warm up with delicious winter soups, casseroles, healthy stir fries, salad /grain bowls, citrus fruits. You’ll feel fitter, brighter and healthier. Want to try something different? Non-vegans check out https://veganuary.com/ for inspiration.
Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Lack of fluids can cause many health problems and can cause us to feel tired and sluggish. On average, aim for 8 glasses of water a day. Everyone is different and illness, exercise and excessive sweating could mean that you may need more. Water is best, but most drinks such as squash, tea, fruit juice and water laden fruit and vegetables can contribute to the overall total. Avoid sweetened and caffeinated drinks.
Make plans, organise an activity, try something new! Book a holiday, a weekend with friends, a special evening out! Having something to look forward to is a great mood booster!
Dry January. After the holiday season a lot of people decide to cut down on alcohol, especially if they have spent the preceding weeks overindulging. Some of the benefits of less/no alcohol are weight loss, improved sleeping patterns, more energy and a reassessment of your drinking habits. Not least, the money saved is a definite bonus! Take a look at the Dry January site for more inspiration https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/
If all else fails, treat yourself! Head to the cinema, curl up with a good book and a big bar of chocolate, listen to your favourite music, a great mood booster, catch up with friends or make that long overdue phone call and have a good chat with a favourite person.
Take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty about being self-indulgent and appreciating the small pleasures in life!
Remember, it’s almost February and Spring and Summer are just around the corner!!!!
Please Note –
SAD. Not to be confused with the low mood in January experienced by many of the population due to circumstances. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression suffered by some people that sometimes starts in autumn and improves in spring. Sufferers can experience a lot of symptoms associated with classical depression and should seek medical help. More information can be obtained from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/symptoms/ The mental health charity MIND also has a fundraising event https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary.
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