Beat the January Blues
The festive days are gone, the days are short, cold and dark, reality is hitting after the holidays, winter depression or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is hitting, and since 2005, the media is telling us Blue Monday is here, the saddest day of the year.
Here is what you can do about it:
Accept it can be tough
Low mood is common in winter and especially after the holidays. On top of that there can be a lot of pressure in January to set new goals, be a better person, a better worker, a better everything!
Use it as a self-reflection time:
Winter is the perfect season to delve inwards, create space, nurture yourself and find comfort. January can be a good time to look past at your past year and reflect on some key points:
- What went well for you?
- What didn't go so well?
- Do you want anything different this year compared to last year?
- Are you living a life aligned to your dreams, your personality and your values?
Journaling can be one way to reflect, notice patterns and check in regularly.
In a world focused on productivity and rewarding it as being "good enough", too often we forget to rest. We are always in a state of motion and feel like if we stop, we are not being "productive". Rest is essential to our basic functioning and recovery, rest is productive. We need it to reset and achieve our full potential. Re frame your mindset around rest for it not being optional and that you don't have to "earn" rest. Slow your breath, quieten your mind and take time to recharge.
Are you afraid of what might come up if you quieten your mind or do nothing?
Resting idea: come into bridge pose, pop a yoga block or a bolster under your lower back and enjoy.
Me time, anyone?
Treat yourself with some me-time. Pick up that book gathering dust on your shelf, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a slow yoga flow, get your sunlight dose by taking walks, make a new recipe, re-ecorate your home to feel more cosy...
Exercising is the best way to boost your mood and release endorphins, the happiness hormones. Do something you love and bring you joy: join a dance class, a new yoga class, or perhaps try swimming!
Turn to your creative side:
We are all creative beings, all it takes is to awaken this energy within you and play with it. Unleash your creativity: learn a new craft, take a photography course, paint your home, try a different yoga flow, write a poem, cook a different recipe...make use of your hands!
Studies show that helping people and being kind to others (and ourselves) makes us feel more fulfilled as human beings. We are all connected and every small action matters, whether it is helping your community, volunteering at your local charity, calling a friend you haven't hear from in a while...
Have things to look forward to:
One way to become more optimistic and positive is to have things to look forward to. Saturday night dinner with friends? Spring trip to Spain? Girls week end away? Yoga retreat somewhere exotic? *Adding it to the calendar*.
Remember that the shortest day of winter was before Christmas so every day now gets lighter, earlier and longer!