January

12 ways to protect yourself from January blues

It may just be me, but January seems to be dragging on a bit. What felt like a much needed (and welcomed) return to normality a few weeks ago, now feels almost like a penance.

Normally one of life’s optimists, even I’m feeling down and lethargic.  I struggled to find motivation to write this blog post, for example.

Late January has become well known for the January Blues, with reports of some of the highest suicide rates for the year. I examine below why this might be, as well as things that we can do to help to lift our moods. Finally, I’ll suggest some additional places to check out if you need any extra help.

 

January Blues

Why does January feel so hard?

After the long build-up and ultimate festivities from the end of the year, January can often feel dull and boring in comparison. It’s also typically a time of tightening our belts financially, as well as to bring relief to our expanded waistlines.

January can be difficult financially. This is partly due to Christmas indulgence, but spending in the January sales may also contribute. Financial concerns can be exacerbated further for those whose were paid before Christmas, making January an exceptionally long month. There is still over a week until pay day for many…

January is often comparatively lonely compared to Christmas and New Year which, for many, involve more time with friends & family than at other times of the year.

January can seem colder and bleaker than other months. It is certainly much colder now than the mild weather we experienced over the Christmas period. Days are still short, even though they are perceptibly becoming slightly longer day by day.

Then, there are all the New Year’s Resolutions including the diets, detoxes, Dry January, Veganuary, RED Januaryetc. It can sometimes feel that you’re being pressured from multiple angles. While you may be feeling better physically and mentally from achieving your goals to date, your enthusiasm may be beginning to wane, several weeks in.

Or maybe you had great intentions at the beginning of the month, but have since fallen off the wagon? This can pile on additional stress from a sense of failure. We are often our hardest critics.

So, all in all, it’s not surprising that many of us could be suffering from a case of January Blues.

 

Not just January

But for some, the month is actually irrelevant. Often life can just get too much and it can seriously affect the way we feel.

While social media isn’t necessarily to blame, it can exacerbate it. With a few exceptions many people often show their best side, things that they’re happy and proud of, things that they want others to know about. If you’re feeling a little fragile, it can seem like everyone’s have a great time and a much better life than you.

 

12 ideas to help you to beat the blues

So, what can we do to help to protect ourselves from feeling blue?

  1. Think positive – having a positive mental attitude (PMA) can certainly help us.
  2. Surround ourselves with positive people – the moods of others can have a significant impact on our own moods.
  3. Try a social media detox, limit our usage to small doses or simply don’t go there when we’re feeling down. Follow people and items that make us smile, not that annoy, infuriate or depress us.
  4. Get moving and take regular exercise to help lift our spirits and feel good.
  5. Plan something to look forward to – a night in, a night out, a weekend away, a holiday – let’s get out our calendars and book something in now!
  6. Connect with nature – I love to be outside in all seasons (OK, except in extreme weather). Go out for a walk, take in some air, take a look around you and see the wonder of nature and its resilience. This can be can be very restorative.
  7. Get some sunlight. At this time of year, it can be a challenge as it’s often dark when we leave the house and dark again when coming home. But there are some light bits in the middle. Try and get out for a walk at lunchtime or at least look for opportunities to do this at weekends.
  8. Talking – sometimes just expressing how we feel can help to lighten the load a little. Find someone you trust and just ask them to listen. They may even have some helpful suggestions too.
  9. Practice self-care. There are so many different ways that we can do this. Find a way that works for you.
  10. Eat well to boost our moods. Check out these 11 mood lifting foods.
  11. Some simple types of escapism can also be useful to distract us and improve our feelings – especially reading or films.
  12. If all else fails, just eat some chocolate! OK, maybe not all types of chocolate, but dark chocolate contains mood boosting serotonin and flavanols.

 

Further support

Maybe you’ve tried some of the suggestions above and they’re simply not working for you right now. Don’t despair, there are some other places to check out.

NHS Moodzone

Mind

Samaritans

Mental Health Foundation

You may not need these today, but it’s worth checking them out to see what kinds of support and services they do offer. You may never need them, but maybe others you know do.

 

Wrap-up

January can be a difficult month for many people and for a variety of reasons. There are a number of different things that you can try to lift your mood and help you to feel better about life. Give them a go and see what works for you.

If they’re not working for you right now, don’t despair! There are organisations that are well placed to give you the support you need.

 

Thank you for reading! For more of my articles, browse my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out  more.