The festive season is now well and truly over and there's no denying it. We’re now halfway through the first proper working week of 2020 and the reality is hitting hard. While the New Year can feel like a new beginning, many experience a dip in positivity, one that's often hard to navigate this time of year. This is sometimes described as January blues. Separate from seasonal affective disorder or winter blues, January blues is situational – it's brought on by crashing "back to the real world” after weeks of socialising, overindulging and enjoying well-earned time off. While negative feelings associated with January blues are likely to improve within a few weeks, you can take the matter into your own hands with these top five tips:
1) Get outside and get moving
Spending time outdoors – particularly in nature – has long been known to have many health benefits, positively impacting our cardiovascular health and reducing stress levels to name just a few. Map out a walk to a park and make a point of taking it every lunchtime for a daily mental boost. Do you typically hit the gym at lunchtime instead? Take your workout outdoors! Studies have shown that doing exercise outside has greater impact on our well-being and health than simply hitting the gym.
2) Boost your mood with light therapy
While this situational dip in positivity isn’t typically as severe as SAD, people who suffer from January blues can still experience similar symptoms, such as feeling sluggish, low on energy and finding it difficult to concentrate. With winter weather in full swing, lack of sufficient exposure to sunlight affects us (and our body clocks) in a number of ways, often disrupting our sleep/wake cycle, food cravings, hunger levels or meal timings. One way of getting back on track is to introduce bright light therapy into your daily routine. Bright light therapy is proven to work and offers a convenient and natural solution to the grogginess brought on my dark mornings and reduced daylight hours.
3) Make the most of your mornings
Committing to a new morning routine may help you stop waking up on the wrong side of the bed every morning this January. Pick one or two new habits to try in the mornings (and allow more than just the mythical 21 days for the habits to form!) which have been proven to help you feel more grounded and positive. You can keep a gratitude journal, do some breathwork or meditation or follow a short yoga sequence before you metaphorically step out to the world and get scrolling. Struggling to wake up on winter mornings without feeling groggy straight away? Try one of our sleep/wake up lights which can help make the transition from night-to-day much easier, regardless of the time of year.
4) Try a vitamin D supplement
If you haven’t yet followed the advice issued by Public Health England (which is to supplement 10 micrograms of Vitamin D daily at least from October to April), now is the time. Vitamin D is made in the skin when it's exposed to sunlight, and now that the daylight hours are shorter, many of us become deficient. Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating our mood and general sense of well-being, so it's better to be safe than sorry!
5) Plan a getaway
Sometimes in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel you need to create it. Now that the festivities ended, many of us begin to feel more isolated and the long month of January can seem like it has nothing to offer and there’s very little to look forward to. Why not flip the narrative and book a little getaway or staycation? A long weekend away or just even a day retreat in the countryside may just be what you need to help you feel more perked up.