There’s nothing more depressing than packing away the Christmas cards off the window shelves and mantles, slipping into January blues depression as the month gets even darker and colder… and worrying you won’t be able to keep up with your New Years’ resolutions.
The Christmas period can often bring people to a feeling of anti-climax and whilst everyone else looks like they had the best time ever (remember, social media isn’t always what it seems… people aren’t exactly posting their failures), others feel like they didn’t do enough.
You’re not alone as so many people suffer with these January blues and anxiety.
It’s been a crazy year and an even more anxious few weeks, so we’ve came up with a few ways to help you combat this not-so-irregular time of year.
Let’s lift that mood with some helpful tips:
1. Realise this is normal.
You aren’t alone and it’s a real phenomenon to have the January blues. Low energy, dark days and being trapped in this bleakness with holidays and flights cancelled left right and centre is making you feel this way and your biological response is NORMAL.
2. Watch out for New Years resolutions!
Usually unrealistically aimed around getting healthier, losing weight, saving money or getting that little bit more organised. Most of the plans are unrealistic and made out of guilt… so you feel even worse when you don’t stick to them. Keep the resolutions attainable! Like “walk an hour a day”. “Do an extra hour of studying” and every time you hit that milestone, you’ll feel empowered to do it again.
3. Get your ass outside!
Get as much sunlight as possible. It’s cold but it isn’t always dark. Gyms have artificial light too so switch it up and do some of your workouts outside even if it just means going for a walk. Exercise is also a natural anti- depressant and will improve your wellbeing and mood.
4. Eat properly
When we’re feeling sh*t we usually reach for the processed and the sugary. Replacing these with meats, nuts, grains, pulses etc… you’ll feel better. It’s been proven that eating a balanced diet and replacing refined sugars with wholefoods massively improves the body, mind and mood. We’re not saying change every meal of the week, but definitely get your 5 a day in and be conscious of the fact that when you feel rubbish – you eat rubbish.
5. Plan a holiday
There’s nothing better than light at the end of a tunnel! Set a goal. It doesn’t have to be tropical, it could be a staycation in the UK, going to stay with a mate, or getting people together for a little trip. Having something to look forward to as the months get warmer (or if you’re lucky enough, booking somewhere to escape to that’s warmer right now!) will always make you feel better.
6. Realise you aren’t alone
Research from mental health charity Mind shows that four out of five 18 to 34 year-olds put on a brave face when they’re feeling low or anxious, so if you — or someone you know – are experiencing constant low moods, it could be time to reach out. Remember that sunnier days really are coming! Every day gets brighter from here on out! You can get help with S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder), you can buy special S.A.D lamps to help you or even get outside. All our tips will help but if you have clinical depression, they probably won’t and we aren’t healthcare professionals, so you’ll need to speak to your GP. So, if it feels like a little more than being down… see someone.
7. Take up a new hobby
Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of S.A.D. Whatever takes your fancy, going out with friends releases oxytocin (the naturally produced love drug) which makes you happy… knit, join a gym, a live action role playing club, keep a diary, or start an online blog. Who knows, whatever peaks your interest really, but concentrating on something new will really help.
8. Get enough sleep
Poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health and lead to you feeling irritable, anxious and worried. Take that time to turn off your phone early, set it to do not disturb, get off social media and get a good night’s kip. Switching your phone off 90 minutes before you go to sleep is proven to improve the quality of your brain relaxing.
However you’re feeling this January, it’s important to talk to each other always. Talk to friends, talk to family or talk to a stranger. You might not need the support but perhaps they do and you never knew.
If you’re looking for independent support there are plenty of options out there:
Student Minds – The UK’s student mental health charity