How to get over January Blues: A Guide
2020 has supersized our usual Christmas comedown by throwing lockdown into the mix, so if you’re one of the millions struggling with your mental health this month, try these steps to help you get over January blues.
January blues. It’s a term that we throw around every year to mark our disappointment once the fun of the festive season starts to fizzle out. This January, however, is different. Not only are we dealing with all the usual mood suppressers that the first month of the year has to offer, we’re doing it all in lockdown, shut away from the friends, family and activities that usually lift the spirits.
There are many reasons why this month is tougher than others – shorter days cheating us of our much-needed Vitamin D, bad weather, depleted funds, the emotional crash from the Christmas high. Throw in a seemingly never-ending lockdown, juggling home schooling with working from home, or worries about finances, running a business or job security and it’s a potent cocktail.
So, what to do about this supersized case of January blues? Firstly, if you are feeling down this month, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. While the concept of Blue Monday on January 18th – a day when we are all supposed to be universally depressed – has been debunked as a myth, just checking in with those around you in your circle will give you a sense of the scale of it. And there are steps we can all be taking to lift our mood this month.
Talk it out
First things first, it’s good to talk. Ring up friends and family and try to explain how you’re feeling, or simply lift your spirits with a good-old chinwag. Also, try to bring in clearer communication at work – if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, fatigue or feelings of being overwhelmed, talk to your colleagues or employer rather than introducing more stress by trying to hide your struggle. They will understand. If you feel you might benefit from some more focused talking, why not try a few sessions with a therapist? Many are offering phone call or Zoom consultations in lockdown.
Light up your life
While our movements are restricted in lockdown, it’s important to get outside when you can. Regular outdoor activities, such as walks or cycle rides, will flood your body with endorphins from the exercise while ensuring you soak up some much-needed sunshine. It can also be a good way to connect with a friend who lives nearby. Current lockdown rules in England allow you to exercise with one other person outdoors.
Watch what you eat
Our diets can have a huge impact on our mood, so this could be the month to try cutting out ingredients that could cause feelings of depression or anxiety. This is a popular method of battling January blues, which is why many people opt to take part in Dry January, with 70% of those who do, reporting better sleep and 66% noting they have more energy when cutting out alcohol. One million people so far have also taken part in Veganuary, cutting out all animal products for the month, and 98% said they would recommend it to a friend.
Forget about New Year’s resolutions
Just like 2020, this year seems to be one in which where making plans seems somewhat futile. Remove the anxiety from failing to meet any set targets, which no doubt are made all the more impossible by lockdown, by simply letting them go. After all, studies have shown that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February anyway. Instead, make a commitment to be kinder to yourself. Whether that means shutting your phone off for a few hours, reading a good book, taking a nice hot bath, or simply pausing to take stock of the positives in your life, kindness to yourself and others s the real key to battling January blues.