Isn’t January just the worst month? The magic of Christmas is over; the weather is miserable; our pockets are now empty. Plus, we’re fast approaching the third Monday in January, reportedly the most depressing day of the year.
It’s important that we take care of our mental health during our January, and as a sufferer of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I’ve been stockpiling my arsenal to combat it. The end of January is when it hits me hardest. By then, I’ve forgotten the horrors of an eight week half term, but am still completely exhausted. By then, I’m irritable, lethargic, and stuffing myself with carbs.
Although in more severe cases, medical support might be necessary, these symptoms can be tackled with some simple lifestyle changes. I don’t pretend to be a doctor or psychiatrist, but these little lifestyle tweaks are definitely making a difference this year.
Take an afternoon walk
It might be cold, but it’s not always raining.
Most of our SAD is caused by a lack of vitamin D, produced by none other than exposure to our friend Mr Sun. Instead of sitting indoors, I try to get outside and take a walk through a natural space. January is also a pretty good time of year to go hiking! It’s cold and muddy, but the climate is pretty consistent, which is actually beneficial.
This year, we have Ted, who’s forced us out and about every day, and I promise I can feel the difference! Next time the sun is shining, pull on your thermals and take a stroll to the shops, the local cafe, or around the park.
Although people love to use January as the beginning of ‘New Year New Me’ mantras, I always find that throwing myself at too many new ventures causes me to be more stressed. Perhaps January is the time to take a hiatus from some of the more stressful areas of life!
It’s a little hard for me to reduce stress when I work in a high intensity environment, but in January, I work smart. I delegate more than I would at other times of the year – ie I make the kids do some independent work while I try to recuperate. I set myself bite size, doable tasks and write off things that I know I can leave until later.
Of course, personal time at home is the perfect time to reduce stress. Though it might seem like torture, dragging yourself to the gym in the dark might just let off some steam that has been building up. I also have more baths during January than any other month, and of course, I have a full bath bomb, candle and exfoliation session!
I always crave sugar and carbs, but when I’ve got the January Blues, it’s almost painful. It’s easy to forget how great water is for your body, especially after a few weeks of pigging out and boozing. Yes, we might be desperate for a can of Coke or a coffee, but water is the best thing for boosting our mood.
Sometimes, you need a reminder. There are all sorts of advice, apps, and pins to help you drink enough water in a day, and if I’m ever going to commit to using one for a few weeks, it’s during January. Here’s my favourite infographic for it!
It’s not easy to fight the January blues, but these three tips might just give you that little boost you need to make through the month.
What are your tips for beating SAD? Let me know in the comments.