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Glen carrie T Ge Fx4x4 NHU unsplash

Beating the January blues

13th January 2023

Christmas is done, the decorations have all been put away and let’s face it the house is feeling a little bare. And, after all the Christmas excitement, the thought of returning to ‘normal’ as we prepare for the year ahead may be making us feel a little glum.

And we have ‘Blue Monday’ to look forward to. A phrase that’s become a familiar part of January in recent years – but what is it?

What is Blue Monday?

Well – the good news is that it’s not a scientifically proven phenomenon but it’s a term that we’ve become familiar with hearing about in January. The third Monday of January to be precise and this year it falls on the 16th.

It first made its appearance as a phrase back in 2005 and is widely reported that it was a concept dreamt up by a travel company, who claimed that this was the most depressing day of the year. They claimed to have calculated the date using a simple equation which considered things like weather conditions, debt levels and time since new year’s resolutions had been broken, amongst other things. Releasing the concept in a press release its now a phrase that many of us have become familiar with over recent years and coupled with the ‘Christmas comedown’ we might feel, it’s easy to see how it’s been adopted. So, what can we do to beat these January blues?

1. Take some exercise

We all know that exercise is good for improving our physical health, but it can also be good to help improve our mental wellbeing. Exercise releases 'feel good hormones' which can help improve our mood. It can also give you the opportunity to connect with people if you’re doing group or team activities. And if doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and involve an expensive gym subscription. Check out our blog here about how to work out without the gym subscription.

2. Help others

Helping others can really give you a sense of satisfaction and achievement. And, if you have the time to volunteer or help with something in the community It’ll help you meet new people and make new friends. Being kind and helping others can make you feel good about yourself and boost your self esteem whilst also making others feel good to. If you’re considering volunteering for something this year and not sure where to start, then the GOV.UK website has a section on volunteer opportunities which you can access here.

3. Make the most of the limited daylight

The winter months can feel like a bit of a slog sometimes with the mornings and evenings being a lot darker than in the Summer. But there are some ways that we can make the most of the daylight which should help to have a positive effect when it comes to beating the January Blues! If its practical then why not walk the children to school or walk to work yourself. Not only will you be making the most of the daylight but also getting some exercise at the same time. If you do work in an office, try to go for a walk during your lunch break if you can. Take the kids to the park after school before it gets dark and plan some outdoor adventures at the weekends.

4. Start a new hobby

If there’s something you’ve always dreamt of doing now might be the time to learn. From starting a new academic course to learning to ride a bike or even learning how to knit learning something new can be fun whilst keeping you occupied and building your confidence at the same time. Depending on what you do it could also be an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

5. Get your finances in shape

If you’re finding it hard to manage financially then start the New Year with a plan on how to make things easier for yourself and focus on creating a plan on how to tackle your debt or financial worries. Think about creating a budget or start actively tracking your spending so you can understand where your money is going to help you plan better. If you are finding it difficult to manage and need some help there are lots of independent organisations that can help with free advice and information should you need it. We’ve listed some of them on our cost-of-living support page where you’ll also find some hints and tips on things that may help you navigate your way through your current situation.

6. Look after yourself

We’re all guilty of forgetting to look after ourselves sometimes and have probably overindulged during the festive season. Making sure that you eat healthily and get enough sleep could really help to instil a sense of wellbeing. According to Mind a lack of sleep can cause tiredness which can lead to difficulty in coping with daily life which could result in low self-esteem and potentially cause feelings of stress and worry. So, try and get some early nights and you might find that this helps with keeping the January Blues at bay.

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