January can be a difficult month for everyone; it’s freezing, dark, and the magic of Christmas is well and truly behind us, which also means your bank account is likely to be empty and your body is a little rounder. There’s also the pressure to make New Year Resolutions and stick to them which is difficult enough. It’s not surprise that every year, many of us come down with the January blues where low moods are all to common.
Throughout the winter, some of us face more than just feeling blue. 1 in 15 of us suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that is seasonal and is most common during the winter months. The symptoms are very similar to depression; a sense of worthless, lack of concentration, and not being able to get out of bed. The exact cause is unknown but many strongly believe that it is down to a lack of sunlight and the shorter days that we experience in the UK throughout the winter.
However, not all hope is lost. I have a few helpful tips that can help manage the effects of this time of year.
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing any symptoms of SAD or depression, please confide in a friend or family member, or visit your GP. The following tips are purely suggestions based on my own experience. I am not a doctor so please seek medical advice if required.
1.Plan activities for the upcoming months
Now that the festivities are out of the way, it can feel like there is nothing really to look forward to. What really helps me at this time of year is booking holidays for the year ahead, which helps me set a goal to work towards. It also helps that there are some fantastic vacation deals at the moment! If you haven’t got the budget to book a holiday, which is understandable after Christmas, why not make some plans to catch up with friends, or plan a fun activity for you and your family to enjoy? It doesn’t have to cost the earth! Even just heading down to your coffee shop or planning a movie day with lots of delicious snacks is enough to fill the diary.
2. SAD Lamps
Now this is one I can really recommend! Sunlight is something that we really lack in the UK at the best of times, let alone in January! I find mornings really difficult when I leave for work and its dark, I just can’t feel refreshed no matter how hard I try. In 2018 I decided enough is enough and purchased a SAD lamp. These lamps, which are scientifically proven to ease the symptoms of SAD, contain daylight bulbs which mimic the sunrise and sunset, which makes getting out of bed just that bit easier. Also, increasing light exposure during the day in general is a really great way of boosting your mood. Turn on your desk lamp and cover your bedroom in fairy lights! Be sure to check out my review of my SAD lamp here.
3. Take a nap!
Possibly one of the best things someone could tell you to do! Energy is rare in January with the majority of us feeling the need to stay in bed a bit longer and just generally feeling exhausted. Well, why not take a nap? I’m not suggesting you forget about life and just stay in bed for all eternity, but it is proven that taking a 20 minute increases productivity and energy levels.
4. Increase your vitamins
Diet plays a big part in your general well being, but don’t sign up to a quick fix diet that has no worth. It is important to focus on increasing your intake of certain vitamins to help boost your mood. Vitamins C and D are great at easing SAD symptoms, and omega 3 fatty acids are fantastic at helping with your mental health and managing those winter blues.
This may be something you are already focusing on this January. Exercise is great for the mind as well as the body. If you don’t feel up to hitting the gym or running a 5K, just heading out for a 15 minute walk or doing some aerobic exercises is enough to get your blood pumping.
6. Avoid technology and focus on you
Self focus is something you should incorporate all year round, but especially in January. Restrict your work to office hours and close the social media apps. Light some candles, have a bath, or cook a fresh dinner. Why not explore a new hobby? I’ve recently turned into a proper old lady and have gotten really into puzzles! Do whatever you need to do to make you feel happy, content and give your brain a break.
So there we have it, my top tips for making January as easy as possible. January is always going to be a tough month, but try your best to make yourself happy. After all, it is just a month with a lot of bad press. Do you have any tips on coping with January? Let me know in the comments.