What Are the January Blues and How Can You Beat Them?

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As the year comes to an end, you might be feeling a sense of relief and excitement, as you look forward to what 2022 will bring. However, when we’re in the midst of January, that excitement can quickly begin to dissipate. In fact, the third Monday of every January is often referred to as “Blue Monday”, and is said to be the “most depressing day of the year”. For many, going back to work, the dark and cold nights, the financial repercussions of the holiday season and realising that new resolutions didn’t work out can lead to many of us struggling with the January Blues.

But what are the January Blues, and how can you beat them? We’ll be taking a look at why there’s a tendency to feel down in January, as well as giving you some guidance on how to manage your mood during this period.

What are the January Blues?

In short, the January Blues refers to when your mood is noticeably lower in the first month of the year. This could be due to a number of reasons:

 

  • You might struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of seasonal depression that is believed to be caused by a lack of sun or serotonin
  • The holiday season is over, which can make it feel like there’s little to look forward to, now that everyone is back at work
  • Resolutions may not have worked out, or you might have forgotten them all together, which could leave you feeling guilty.

 

The January Blues can have a huge impact on our stress levels and mental health, which is why it’s important to be aware of how you can help to manage these emotions.

How Can You Beat the January Blues?

Whether you struggle with SAD, the January Blues, or you’re just looking to boost your mood during the darker winter months, there are a number of things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing during January.

1. Have Realistic Resolutions

One of the biggest factors behind the January Blues is New Year’s Resolutions. With the unlimited potential that a new year brings, many of us will want to make a change or recreate a part of ourselves. However, setting unrealistic resolutions can have a serious impact on your wellbeing. Unrealistic resolutions take the enjoyment away from a new challenge, and can leave you feeling guilty if you do not reach your goals.

There are a number of ways that you can make sure your resolutions are fair and achievable. Try using the SMART technique to set your goals for the year. SMART is an acronym used in many areas to set and measure goals and achievement.

  • Begin by ensuring your resolution is ‘Specific’

Making a concrete goal such as ‘I want to lose 4kg’ is far more effective and clear than a vague goal such as ‘I want to lose weight’.

 

  • Your resolution also needs to be ‘Measurable’

So that you know how well you are doing, you need to be clear on how to measure your progress. For example, if your goal is to save a certain amount of money, track and note your savings progress so you can measure how close or far you are to achieving your goal.

  • One of the most important aspects of goal setting is to make it ‘Achievable’

As aforementioned, setting unrealistic goals will only trigger stress as you have told yourself to achieve something that isn’t possible. Its okay to challenge yourself, but ensure that challenge is possible.

  • Make your resolution ‘Relevant’

The resolution needs to be relevant to your core values, it needs to matter to you and feel worthwhile for you.

 

  • Finally, your resolution needs to be ‘Time-bound’

Set an end date for your when you aim to achieve your goal by.

Remember to be kind to yourself. If you have not met your goal, try not to give up, but review your goal and ask yourself if it was SMART, or if something needs to change to make it more achievable. Once you do start meeting your goals, remember to reward yourself!

2. Curate Your Social Media Experience

The advent of social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with people all around the world, but it also makes it easier to compare ourselves to others. This can feel more challenging inJanuary, when users are showcasing the fun they had over the holiday season, the gifts they received, or the progress they’ve made towards any resolutions. It’s easy to get disheartened and disillusioned when using social media, reinforcing the January Blues. To help boost your mood, you can spend some time curating your social media experience to avoid any triggers and focus on the things that bring you joy. For example, you might block or temporarily mute accounts or hashtags, and follow more encouraging content so that your social media experience can be a positive one. This way, you can also rely on social media to provide positivity if you know your feed is full of things that make you happy.

3. Talk to Someone You Trust

Whether you speak to family, friends, or a licensed professional, talking about the things that are troubling you can help to lift the weight off your shoulders. If you don’t wish to seek advice, you don’t have to, just try talking about what you are going through and how you are feeling. Having someone listen to you can have just as much of an impact. Feeling like we’re being listened to can help to validate our feelings and make us feel less isolated.

4. Look After Your Body

Looking after your body is a simple but effective way of boosting your mood during the winter period, and through your food, sleep patterns and exercise regimes you could stave off the January Blues significantly. Make sure you’re eating nutritious meals when you can and that you’re making sleep a priority. Exercise is also important, but there is no need to commit to anything strenuous – all you may need is a short lunchtime walk to get some vitamin D and fresh air.

The January Blues might not be the most enjoyable way of starting the new year, but with these tips, you’ll be able to find ways to boost your mood despite the darker nights and the end of the holiday season. Remember that the team at Psymplicity Healthcare are always here to help, so contact us today and find out more about how we can support you throughout January and beyond.
Mavish Sikander

Mavish Sikander

Mavish is a BABCP Accredited CBT and EMDR Therapist and CBT Clinical Lead at Psymplicity.

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