After the festive excitement, it’s natural to feel a little glum in January. There’s Blue Monday, plus the weather is rubbish and we’re feeling the pinch from spending at Christmas. So we’ve put together some top tips and resources to help you feel more upbeat...
1: Keep active
Keeping active isn’t just about keeping fit, it helps improve your mental health and exercise releases endorphins. So you don’t have to be training hard or going to the gym to keep active - there are lots of ways to feel the benefits, whatever your level of fitness.
2: Eat well
What we eat can affect the way we feel. Eating regularly will help your blood sugar from dipping (which can make you tired and depressed), while eating smaller portions spaced out regularly throughout the day and avoiding foods that are high in sugar can have a positive impact on your mood. Plus don’t forget your five a day!
3: Cuddle your dog
Cuddling your furry friend (dog, cat, rabbit...) reduces levels of Cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for stress, anxiety and depression. Not got a pet? A human will do... but make sure you know them and have checked they want one first!
4: Drink responsibly
While alcohol can sometimes have a short-term positive impact on our mood, in the long-term it can cause anxiety and depression. There’s a reason why ‘Dry January’ has become so popular, and this course might just help you see and feel the benefits of changing your drinking habits.
5: Practice self-care
Consciously do things that can improve your mental health. What that looks like will be different for all of us. It could be having a bath, meditating, singing, enjoying a good book, spending time cooking a delicious meal, or just taking time to slow down. Follow these tips and make some time for yourself.
6: Get some sunlight
Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps you fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It's all too easy to sit at your desk (be that at home or the office) and watch the day disappear from out the window, so get outside whenever you can, even if just for a few minutes and feel the benefits.
7: Set social media boundaries
Studies have found a link between heavy social media use and an increased risk in depression, anxiety, loneliness and self-harm. Take time to notice which accounts have a negative impact on your mood and unfollow them, avoid social media use an hour before bed and when you first wake up in the morning.
8: Sleep well
Sleep is crucial to our wellbeing and experts sugget avoiding watching TV in your bedroom to help you sleep better. You can practice mindfulness or meditation before bed, avoid screens (TVs, phones or tablets) just before bed time, or run yourself a hot bath to help you relax before sliding under that cosy duvet...
9: Speak with friends
Chatting with friends and family can really perk you up.... the ‘It’s good to talk’ slogan may have been just that, a slogan, but it’s true! Friends help us put our problems into perspective, put a smile on our faces, and even if it’s them that needs your support, that’s a great feeling to be able to help them too.
10: Seek help when needed
Sometimes, speaking to a friend or family member might not be enough. If you think you’re feeling more than just ‘a bit low’, then don’t ignore the signs - speak to a GP. There’s no shame in asking for help from anyone. Look after yourself, and if that means asking for help, do it.