While January marks the start of a new year and a chance to ‘turn over a new leaf’, it’s also a month when the short days and long dark evenings can start to take their toll on our general mood. With a dismally low average hours of sunshine (54, in case you’re interested), our outlook can quickly become considerably less than ‘sunny’.
We’ve listed 5 top tips to help you beat the January blues:
- During the dark winter months, lack of sun can result in low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is widely recognised as an important mood booster. It helps keep bones and teeth healthy and supports a strong immune system. Luckily we can easily top up by ensuring we include a few specific foods in our day-to-day diet – dairy, eggs and oily fish, not to mention fortified cereals, are all good sources of this vital vitamin.
- Dull, wintry days can leave us wanting to do nothing more than stay indoors, preferably hunkered down on a cosy sofa. We tend to exercise less during the colder months of the year and this can result in us feeling slow and sluggish, our mood may dip and we could find ourselves more prone to stress and anxiety. Shake off the negative funk by wrapping up warm and heading outdoors – even a brisk half hour walk at lunchtime can help us reset and re-energise. Not to mention, we might even manage to catch some midday sunshine, if we’re lucky!
- If you’ve not already done so, review your calendar and plan how and when you’ll take your holiday through the course of the year. Many people delay booking holiday into their diary simply because it feels ‘too early’ to think about it. However, getting organised and scheduling some important downtime (even if it’s just a long weekend) means you’re more likely to spread your leave evenly through the year and you’ll be better able to plan your workflow around it. Having something to look forward to in the calendar is a useful reminder that everything passes, even the most challenging of days.
- Consider the people in your wider support network – family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. These are often the people we rely on to help us in our day-to-day life. Make a point of thanking them in person for the role they play in helping you juggle all your priorities. This may sound like another thing to add to your To Do list, but you’ll be amazed at how warmly your thanks will be received and the positive buzz you’ll get from this.
- If the dark evenings are starting to all feel a bit ‘samey’ reframe them as an opportunity to do something different – read a new book, try out a new recipe, clear out a drawer or cupboard… Notice how it feels to do something new and different. Winter nights don’t have to be dull and boring, they can actually be a time to learn something new about yourself!