Turn2Me, a national mental health charity, has published a list of ten ways to beat the ‘January Blues’. The charity stated there are three main reasons many experience the January Blues, which include Post-Holiday Letdown, Seasonal Affective Disorder and Financial Stress.
The charity described the Post-Holiday Letdown as the time after the excitement and busyness of the holiday season, where many people experience a sense of letdown or sadness once the festivities are over. Returning to work or daily routines after the holidays can lead to a feeling of emptiness or disappointment, especially if expectations for the holidays were high.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Some people may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of year, typically during the fall and winter months. Reduced exposure to sunlight during shorter days can disrupt the body’s internal clock and lead to changes in serotonin and melatonin levels, affecting mood and causing depressive symptoms.
Financial Stress: The holiday season often involves increased spending on gifts, travel, and social activities. As January arrives, many people face financial strain due to holiday expenses, leading to stress and anxiety about managing debts or tightening budgets.
Turn2Me’s ten tips to help people overcome the January Blues:
- Stay active: Exercise has a significant impact on mental well-being. Engage in physical activities you enjoy, whether it’s going to the gym, taking a walk, practicing yoga, or dancing. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood.
- Get out in nature: Many studies have outlined the benefit of ‘forest bathing’, nature walks, hiking, and gardening. Spend time around nature to benefit your mental health.
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by prioritising self-care activities. This could include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing, and pampering yourself with activities you enjoy.
- Socialise: Even if it’s tempting to hibernate during the winter, make an effort to socialise. Plan activities with friends or family, join clubs, or attend social events to combat feelings of isolation.
- Use the start of the year as an opportunity to explore new hobbies or activities. Learning something new can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost your mood.
- Travel: Plan a trip to have something to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be a lavish expensive holiday abroad; it can be a cheaper staycation in Ireland.
- Make time for fun: Incorporate enjoyable activities into your routine. Whether it’s outdoor swimming, watching movies, reading books, cooking, or any other hobby you love, scheduling time for activities you find pleasurable can help lift your spirits.
- Practice gratitude and focus on the positives in your life. Keep a gratitude journal, where you write down things you’re grateful for each day. Shifting your perspective towards positivity can improve your mood.
- Avoid toxic people: Cut out ‘energy vampires’ in your life. These are people who drain your energy with drama, manipulate, selfish or hurtful behaviour. If they’re family members that you can’t cut out of your life, reduce the time you spend with them.
- Seek professional help if needed: If you have feelings of anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. Counselling can provide valuable support and guidance.
“It’s important to be patient and kind to yourself during this time,” Fiona O’Malley, CEO of Turn2Me, said, “Beating the January Blues is about making small, positive changes and finding what works best for you to improve your mood and overall well-being. If you need professional mental health support, go to Turn2Me.ie”.