The January blues appear to be even more prevalent this year. I’ve read several articles and heard many people complain about feeling ill and or despondent this year. Does this resonate with you?
Psychological research helps discover the reasons for this annual lack of vitality and is intensified by a perception of how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. The disparity between the two are highlighted during January after the excitement of December. This is not helped by the cultural activities which include spending so much condensed time with friends and family and in my opinion, now it is splashed across the internet, is exacerbated even more. Apparently, it is a time when people think about what they have achieved and this can lower their mood. The research at the University of Exeter explores what the mechanisms underpinning depression are and find the underlying factors which cause depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. The research concentrates on three main areas which include underlying psychological mechanisms, psychological treatments plus trials and third, increase the accessibility of evidence-based treatments for as many people as possible.
The research determines how you can attempt to improve your mood and unsurprisingly include physical and mental exercise with an emphasis on socialising, hobbies but there is an interesting thought process that also helps according to Professor Ed Watkins, Director of the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre (MDC), :
“There is good evidence that being more active – physically and mentally – connecting with other people, getting absorbed in interesting activities, becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?) all help people to feel better.”
Ask yourself how rather than just why? This is making the thinking process more discernible, helpful and can change our perceptions.
The unit is working with Dutch colleagues processing controlled trials by providing internet treatment. Preliminary data shows this treatment reduces the risk of depression by a third. The unit is working with the charity Help for Heroes to support the mental health of veterans and their families. Also, a trial will be implemented by NHS Cornwall with a 1000 patients. Interesting times.
One thing we do know, is feeling low in January is common and so at least if you are feeling fed up, you know you are not alone. Studies have shown that you can boost your mood by having Vitamin D. During the darker months we are not getting enough Vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine. This is another reason to go out for a walk!
Many foods help with this too and include:
Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy, eggs and fish such as sardines, herrings and salmon are all good sources. Plus, along with improving your mood, topping up on vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system and keep bones and teeth healthy.
Another tip is to lay on the floor with your legs raised which helps boost energy and makes you feel calm. This is from the Chinese principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and relaxes the back and opens the stomach energy channel. Health expert Fiona Slatter suggests you do it when you wake up when your body needs the energy.
To sum up, there are many things you can do to help with the January blues but obviously if you feel really ill you should visit the good old GP. Personally, my favourite exercise at present is a countryside walk. I’ve done quite a bit of walking lately, some in a solitary way and some with others. Going with a local group is good because you hear some of the local news and about how others are coping with their lives. Exploring the local area by yourself is a fruitful way of doing something for your soul and is invigorating.
Something like checking out your outside space could be prudent. Wash your car, sweep the drive or tidy the garden. You may start chatting to the neighbours! Also, book a day trip, holiday or some sort of adventure. If you haven’t much dosh (it is January after all) go on an exploration adventure and take a picnic!
Hope you find some of the research and tips useful because it does seem to be a widely discussed issue. Think we all need some motivation to spark some life back into ourselves. As usual, I need to follow this advice too. Sometimes, you do have to just embrace the winter months and at least we can try to convince ourselves that spring is around the corner!
Physical and mental exercise
Becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?)
Diet (foods above)
Exploring new areas
Use your outside space
Book a holiday/adventure/day out
It’s all about the insta! https://www.instagram.com/mishmashmediablog/?hl=en
Photos – Andy’s
2 thoughts on “Beating the January Blues – 8 Tips…”
I loved the pictures, and yes, there are some that suffer during this time of year. Perhaps from losing a loved one during the holiday months. It’s cold, we’re trapped inside where the weather is too bad to walk or get out much. Great information shared, thanks.
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Thanks, pleased you enjoyed it.
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