Please note that all fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required
Beat the January Blues with 6 Top Tips
Published on 16 January 2017 by Tom Brett, updated on 02 May 2017
Why so Blue? At this time of year the media is full of stories about Blue Monday – the 3rd Monday of every January, supposed to be ‘officially’ the ‘very worst day’ of the year.
The exact science pinpointing this date is pretty flimsy, based on an equation commissioned by a holiday company. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that people in the northern hemisphere will probably be feeling the cold, the dark and the post-Christmas absence of friends and family.
On the upside, feeling a bit flat can trigger the drive to take action - to try something new or get cracking on things you may have been putting off. But whether you believe in the ‘Blue’ theory or not, when better than a gloomy Monday in January to make a positive change for the better?
Here are our top tips for busting the January Blues.
The great outdoors Days might be short and the weather bad, but nothing boosts spirits like fresh air and daylight. Try to get out of work for a lunchtime walk, or how about wrapping up warm and trying a ‘walking meeting’ with colleagues. There are plenty of simple, free voice recording apps for smart phones so you can just walk and talk – with no need to take notes. At the weekends try and get out for longer – we recommend an hour or two at least – you’ll feel the benefits; of the exercise, the change of scene and the fresh air, of course.
Work it out It’s easy to forget quite how good endorphins (mood-enhancing chemicals released naturally in the body – particularly during exercise) can make you feel. Power walking, swimming, cycling, running, dancing and going to the gym all release endorphins – lifting your mood as well as getting you fit and healthy. If you need extra motivation, you can’t beat a ‘buddy’ – find a friend with similar goals and give each other the moral support you need to keep it going. January is the best month for fitness special offers, so try your local gym (sounds obvious but if your gym is 10 minutes away you’re much more likely to go than if it’s a distance). If you prefer to exercise at home fitness DVDs are always a good bet, while youtube is brilliant for yoga, hula hooping and pretty much any other form of solo exercise. And when the sun’s out – why not go for a run or dig out your bike and get down to the park.
Fresh & tasty Comfort eating is always tempting, especially at the end of a long, chilly January day. We all know fresh fruit, salads and veg are better for us than a barrel of comfort carbs, but there are so many good recipes out there, especially at this time of year, it’s the perfect time to make some positive and delicious changes to your everyday diet that are healthy too. Why not try substituting spiralised squash for spaghetti (with a healthy sauce) and natural fruit syrups for sugar in baking. Just google healthy food hacks and try the ones that appeal. It’s fun, it’ll be tasty, and nothing feels better in the morning than having had a healthy dinner the night before.
Cheers! Dry January can be a bit extreme – but it’s a year-round good idea to keep binge drinking to a minimum and stay below recommended alcohol limits as much as you can. Don’t forget the target for both men and women is less than 14 units a week – a unit is 10ml of alcohol - about half a pint of lager (4%), half a 175ml glass of average strength wine (12%, do check the bottle as some wines can be much stronger) or a single measure of spirits (based on strength of 37.5%). Add plenty of water to your routine (try warm water with juice of half a lemon to kickstart your digestive system in the mornings), stick to your alcohol limits and you’ll sleep better, your skin will look better and you’ll feel better all round.
Deeper sleep Over the Christmas break later nights and days off work can make it difficult to get back into your sleep routine. A few days (feeling a bit jetlagged) is usually all it takes to get back to normal but real difficulty sleeping is debilitating. If you’re struggling to get rest and your sleep is interrupted – and if you’re worried about anything at all, talk to someone about it. It’s amazing how helpful this can be, even if the problem seems insurmountable in the dead of night. If you feel you need more support do try visiting your GP.
Don’t forget to socialise! Make an effort to see friends and family again, just with a bit less wine and food. Chances are they’ve got the January blues and would love to catch up with you, too.