It’s easy to get bogged down by the doom and gloom in winter months, particularly in January, with the build up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve finally over and the warmth of summer seemingly a long way off. The lights have been packed away – apart from a few die-hard festive fanatics – and the evenings have lost their magical twinkle but, fear not, there are ways to stave off the melancholy and beat the January blues.
Get as much daylight as possible
There are biological reasons behind why we often feel down and lacklustre during the dark winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or ‘winter depression’ is linked to shorter winter days and a theory that the lack of sunlight can affect our brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin. It can also mess with your body clock, throwing everything out of whack. That is why experts advise getting as much natural daylight as possible during these months. Eat breakfast in a well-lit room, go for a walk on your lunchbreak. Wrap up warm and get out as much as possible, whatever the weather. Even if you dread going out in the cold, the vitamin your body produces whilst in the natural sunlight, will give you such a boost, you will have a smile on your face in no time!
If these things aren’t an option because of work patterns or other commitments, then consider investing in a light box for a bit of light therapy. Look for something that delivers at least 10,000 lux and try and fit your treatments in during the morning, as this is when you will see the most benefit. There are even smaller portable options if you need something to take with you on the go.
Dawn simulators to help you wake up gradually/naturally can also do wonders for your internal body clock until we start seeing brighter mornings.
Brighten up your home
Throw up those blinds, open curtains, clean windows, and trim back any plants that might be restricting light. Even if you only do this on one room in your house, it can be somewhere you seek sanctuary and recharge when feeling gloomy. You can even brighten it up with artificial light and vivid hues to give you a boost. Research shows that our brains release different chemicals that affect us physically and emotionally when our eyes connect with a colour. Yellow stimulates the feel-good chemical, serotonin, in our brains, so is a great colour to have around the home to give you a lift. It is the colour of optimism, brightness and mental clarity, so look for some beautiful home accents, such as LifestyleGarden’s Nassau range in Honey, to inject some sunshine into your home. Or add one of our cushions for an injection of summery colour to your home.
Do something new
Find a welcome distraction and new focus. Every year is a fresh start, so get together with a friend or on your own and think of something you want to achieve, learn or try this year. It’s all about a change from the usual routine and the chance to break from the norm to get that spark back. It can be absolutely anything – from learning a new language or picking up a book you’ve always wanted to read (why not start a book club?), to picking up a new instrument, or even volunteering at animal shelter, which is great for meeting others and could even give you an extra excuse to get out and about by walking any resident dogs.
Get some rest
We are all left a little burned out after the festive period and experts suggest that, rather than a long-term depression, the January blues are a short-term exhaustion that can be recovered from by being kind to ourselves, getting some well-deserved rest and letting our bodies recharge. Don’t beat yourself up about unrealistic New Year’s resolutions you might have made in the moment. Yes, getting some exercise and eating healthily can help lift your mood but so can taking the pressure off and allowing yourself to heal from the Christmas drama.
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