The beginning of a New Year is naturally a time to reflect and make a fresh start. January can be a very difficult time for a lot of people following the Christmas period that can be stressful and financially draining, which can be further compounded by the pressure to transform into the “new you”. Those already suffering with depression may experience their symptoms intensifying, and people in general can start to feel down due to burdening themselves with over ambitious New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some simple and practical tips to help you beat the January blues and really look after your mental well-being over the next few weeks;
1. Start your day the right way
Updating your morning routine can make a positive difference to how you feel inside and how you are for the rest of the day. Set yourself up for success by giving yourself the best possible start. Prepping the night before can help alleviate morning stress. Layout your clothes before you go to bed to save yourself time in the morning. Use this time to take 30 seconds to stretch out your body. Simply raising your arms over your head will open up your chest and get the blood flowing so that it can transport essential nutrients to your vital organs, giving you a natural boost.
2. “Treat” Yourself
When we are feeling low, the temptation to comfort eat unhealthy food and drink alcohol may increase. Over-indulging on the wrong types of food can cause our sugar levels to spike and drop leaving us feeling bloated and sluggish. Really treat yourself by snacking on nourishing foods like berries that taste good that are full of natural mood enhancing anti-oxidants. Supplements like multi-vitamins can also help increase your energy levels naturally.
3. Music Motivators
Music can help us become more energized as it stimulates our sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged it keeps us alert and prepared to face challenges that may arise throughout our day. Music can also boost our mood by taking us out of our current situation and bring us to a happier place by interrupting negative thoughts and feelings. Make a playlist of your favourite songs from the past and present and turn up the volume when you need some motivation.
4. Watch what you like
The world we live in is becoming more and more digitally focused. Checking in on our facebook, instagram, snapchat etc. is now a regular part of our daily routine. While social media can be a useful resource for most people and a great way to stay in touch with friends, it can subconsciously result in us comparing ourselves to other people, and cause us to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves about how we should look and be in the world. Review your social media activity and your account settings. You don’t have to cut the cord completely, but pressing “unfollow” or “unlike” can give you more control over what you see so that you can consciously make decisions on what you look at.
5. Positive Affirmation
Our inner critics can become very active when we are feeling down. Reciting some positive affirmations can combat our critic and avoid us slumping further into a negative place. Prepare some nice statements for yourself such as “I matter”, “I am a good person”, “I am unique” keep them in your wallet or close to hand and take them out and recite as often as you need to. Keep them simple and specific to you. Remember to enjoy what you have achieved rather than becoming consumed on where you are going.
Getting our thoughts and feelings out can help to free us from the January blues. Writing things down connects us with our inner feelings. Having your own summary of what’s going on inside for you can help you to communicate what you feel and how you feel to others. Reach out to friends, family or colleagues as connecting with others can help us to stabilise and feel better. It’s common for us to not want to share our feelings with those closest to us. Independent phone support services such as the Samaritans are available 24 hours or you can book a face to face session with a therapist. Help is available - you don’t have to be alone.
How healthcoach can help you to mind your mind,
Take control of living and feeling better at a pace that suits you with healthcoach by laya healthcare, our new and exclusive benefit available to laya healthcare members. You'll also find a number of wellbeing courses including mindfulness, once you download your personalised app, following your consultation.