You may be feeling the effects of Blue Monday. Yes, today is apparently the most miserable day of the year. Based on a formula of factors including debt, time since Christmas holidays, weather and low motivational levels, Blue Monday may have been created for marketing sun holidays, but many of us may be feeling a bit blue this time of year.
So what can you do to beat the January blues?
Be grateful. Begin the day with a simple practice of gratitude. Acknowledge 2 or 3 things you’re grateful for - it could be your health, your job, somebody in your life, coffee or a hot shower. This practice can help change our perspective and set a more optimistic tone for the day. Meditate. It can be for as little as 5 minutes. It’s not about shutting out negative thoughts, it’s about being able to sit with them and know that they will move on. Meditation is known to help us in many ways, including improved focus and concentration, greater emotional resilience, improved physical health and improved relationships. To begin your meditation practice, commit to 5 minutes in the morning. Focus on your breath by repeating to yourself “breathing-in, breathing-out”. This repetition of the phrase may help your mind to settle, allowing you to simply sit and be. Make it consistent, and you may gradually increase the time of your meditation.
Move. Movement can literally change how you feel. We know that getting out for a run or brisk walk can help you feel better, but you can also incorporate movement into your daily life. Use the stairs instead of the lift. Walk over to chat with your colleague in person instead of emailing or phoning. Get up and stretch every 60 minutes. Scientific studies have shown that if we adopt a “power” pose when we’re feeling anxious or negative, by literally “faking” a feeling of confidence through our posture, hormonal levels change in the body, having both a calming and confidence boosting effect. Even by simply standing up, opening up your arms and chest, and taking a few deep breaths, you may be able to literally change your mood. Connect. Human connections are necessary for good mental health. Sharing a problem with somebody can be enough to help you gain a different perspective & feel better. Now is a great time to join a new club, take up a new interest or do some voluntary work. Reach out to somebody you haven’t been in touch with for a while. While technology is a great tool, there is no replacement for real human connection. Get outdoors. Get out in the fresh air and grab any sun rays going. Most people need at least 15 minutes of sunshine daily to maintain correct Vitamin D levels. This can be difficult in Ireland, and use of sunscreen, make-up or moisturisers with SPF all inhibit the absorption of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for many functions of the body and brain, including immune and bone health. Low Vitamin D levels can also be linked to low mood. The main source of Vitamin D is sunshine, so unless you have been medically advised otherwise, get outside every day and feel your mood improve! Set realistic goals. Use this time to find focus and purpose by setting achievable goals. If you want to get fitter and healthier, look at this as a long-term goal and lifestyle rather than a quick hard slog. Find a physical activity that you enjoy – if running isn’t something you enjoy, don’t do it! Try dancing, walking or cycling. If sorting out your finances is important, focus on the big picture rather than what you need to sacrifice. Use this time at the start of the year to get into a positive new mindset. Just start today, and take the first steps into a positive tomorrow. Try Yoga. This ancient mind/body technique can bring so many benefits to both physical and mental health, and also nourishes our social and spiritual health! We need to be well in all aspects of our health to feel our best self.
I hope that at least one of these tips will help you navigate the January blues and inspire you to take action to give yourself a boost until your days become brighter!
Article by Kerry White
Kerry is a Workplace Health & Wellbeing Facilitator, Speaker, Yoga Teacher & Shiatsu Therapist and the founder of Kerry Wellbeing. Her popular Workplace Health & Wellbeing sessions equip people with practical tools to help them deal with stress and common health & well-being issues such as backache, fatigue and anxiety.
Kerry worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva for many years. She has also held other international corporate roles in sales, medtech and training. Her popular Workplace Health & Well-Being sessions equip people with practical tools to help them deal with stress and common health & well-being issues such as backache, fatigue and anxiety.
For more information on Kerry's workplace sessions, visit: https://www.kerrywellbeing.com/