How to Beat the January Blahs
The holidays have been over for a while. You may have what’s known as the January blahs.
It’s natural to feel a bit down but beating the January blahs is possible by taking care of yourself, staying connected, and understanding that it is normal to feel down sometimes.
Why do we get the January blahs?
In January, credit card bills usually start arriving, we could be already failing at our New Year’s resolutions, and the days seem as gloomy and cold as ever. The result is that many of us experience the Winter Blues.
The Winter Blues can mean we feel sad, unmotivated, tired, and lacking energy. January is peak time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can include serious episodes of depression.
To add to all this, some say the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday, also falls in January. Blue Monday is the third Monday in January and this year it is on the 16th.
The idea of Blue Monday became popular in 2005, when Psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall was quoted in a press release by British travel company Sky Travel. His formula says that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year and takes into account factors like weather, debt, the time after Christmas, New Year’s resolutions, and low motivation levels. The science behind the Blue Monday formula has been questioned, but there is no doubt that the Winter Blues are real for many people.
How to beat the January blahs
The January Blahs are a challenge but you can beat them. Here are some tips for beating the Winter Blues.
Exercise releases endorphins, which reduce stress, improve mood, and help your self-esteem. Go for a workout on your lunch break, do yoga, or go for a run. Try to exercise most days.
Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep and this is important both for your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can make you anxious, irritable, and unhappy. Reduce your screen time before bed so you can start to wind down and get a good sleep.
Get lots of daylight
Not getting enough vitamin D and sunlight has been shown to have a negative impact on mood and the short days are one reason people get the January Blahs. Sunlight makes you feel better and regulates your sleep cycle through serotonin production.
Keep New Year’s resolutions realistic
Not being able to stick to your New Year’s resolutions because they are too ambitious is a sure way to get the January Blues. Make sure they are achievable and measurable. For example, instead of “save money,” pick a resolution like “put $100 a month into my savings account.”
Craving heavy food in the winter is normal but foods like sugary desserts are unhealthy and will make you crash later, craving more sugar. Balance carbohydrates with lots of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fats. A healthy diet will improve your mood.
Do something new
Boost your confidence and gain a sense of achievement by learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, or volunteering. Studies have shown that creative activities reduce stress and depression and volunteering improves your mood and reduces isolation, so why not take up painting or give back to your community?
The winter blues are normal
You are not the only one feeling down and it is normal to get the Winter Blues. Stay connected to your friends and reach out when you are down in the dumps.