Beat the January Blues: 7 Quick and Easy Ways
I write this on Monday 17th January; the most miserable day of the year, apparently. But hey; before we throw in the towel and head back to bed, let’s look some fool-proof tactics to beat the January Blues and head into the rest of the year feeling more positive.
Why do we get the January Blues?
For us to get rid of the January blues, it’s important to understand why we might be getting them in the first place. There are several really common reasons why we might find we suffer from low mood at the beginning of the year. Post-Christmas debt can cause lots of stress, rubbish weather, less daylight hours and the natural dip in our social lives after all the exciting busy-ness of Christmas can also all add up to feeling pretty demotivated in January. It’s important to remember that the January blues are a normal, natural response to a situational change. The mental health charity Mind states clearly that mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are not dictated to by the month of the year or any particular date. If you struggle to lift your mood on a regular basis it’s important to seek help from a health professional.
If however like lots of us, January just makes you feel a little bit flat and you’re more than ready to shake off the funk; here are seven easy ways to beat the January Blues.
1 – Sunlight
Letting a little light into your life every day in January is so important for our immune system as well as our mood. The great news is we don’t have to be outside in the cold for too long to get the benefits either. As little as 15 minutes of natural daylight will top up your Vitamin D levels and help us ward off the winter blues.
2 – Immerse yourself in a book
Commit a little bit of your day or evening to getting really engrossed in a story! Reading for pleasure is one of life’s lovely indulgences, and the bonus is that it’s free! Reading has been proven to reduce feelings of depression and loneliness and we all know how a great book can take our minds off day-to-day stress. If books aren’t your bag (I’m looking at my husband here…), try a podcast or an audiobook. There’s a genre to float every boat.
3 – Exercise
There’s a lot of pressure this time of year to be taking control of your health and fitness. But rather than seeing your workouts as a mission to be completed, try to think of them as a quick-fix January mood improver. For a triple whammy, how about combining a power walk in the fresh air whilst listening to a podcast? That little combo should help you beat the January blues before the end of your lunch break!
4 – Be a leaf on a tree
I heard this tip recently and it really resonated with me! Being a leaf on a tree just means being part of something bigger than yourself, part of a community. You only have to look at the feel-good factor we managed to create in the #thegoodthingisthough Facebook group in lockdown number one. When we feel lonely, isolated or anxious, it’s important to look for connections with others. So whether it’s arranging to meet up with friends for coffee, joining a club or volunteering for a charity; be sure to reach out and be inclusive and included this January.
5 – Get off that phone!
You know the old saying; “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And never was that truer than in January! Instagram is full of influencers launching into the new year with their washboard stomachs, perfect houses and new moneymaking enterprises. It’s no suprise it can leave the rest of us mere mortals feeling a bit lacking. If you can take a full social media break for a week in January that’s ideal for re-setting your over-stimulated mind! If like me, you have to use social media for your work, remind yourself regularly that what you see on social media is a long way from reality. Chances are those perfect influencers are trying to get rid of the January blues too…
6 – Indulge yourself
There’s too much restriction in January for my liking! Restricting your alcohol intake if you’re in the Dry January brigade (not for me thank you), restricting calories to meet the new diet’s targets, restricting impulsive purchases because the overdraft struggle is REAL. A great little antidote to all that restriction is this: every few days in January, indulge yourself. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing – think along the lines of a bubble bath with the door locked so the kids can’t come in and use the loo, a bar of chocolate devoured without having to share a single bite, a drive in the car singing along with Taylor Swift at top volume. You get the idea right? January blues: be gone.
7 – Do something for someone else
For an instant mood lift, do something for someone else, without needing or expecting anything in return. There’s no feel-good factor like it. It’ll make you feel like a super hero sans cape, and it might well get rid of the January blues for the recipient of your kindness. Winner winner chicken dinner.