Well, it’s January.
Does anybody else feel their mood sinking these days, or is it just me?
Aptly titled the January blahs, it’s a pretty accurate description of the feeling that seems to take hold each year shortly after the holidays have come and gone.
Part of it is that the excitement and busy-ness of the holidays are over, and it’s a bit of a letdown post-Christmas. There are also no more major holidays to look forward to in the immediate future.
It can be a long haul until Easter.
As a colleague and I were recently discussing, I’m not sure if it’s something that I’ve always felt or if I’m just more aware of it now.
It doesn’t help that we live in a rain forest and the days are often dark, windy and rainy.
They’re also short and daylight is hard to come by. It makes you feel especially tired and sluggish.
Part of the problem is the inclement weather keeps us indoors and therefore, not as active as when the sun is shining and life is good.
Most doctors will tell you that being idle impacts our energy levels and interest in every day activities.
It’s one explanation for the winter blues.
Another comes from clinical psychologist Deborah Serani who says that our bodies produce more melatonin after sun set, which makes us tired.
And with the sun setting earlier during the winter months, that means an increased production of melatonin during our waking hours.
But rather than give in to the January blahs, there are things you can do to try and combat them. The number one tip that I’ve come across is an obvious one: get mobile and spend time outside.
Granted, with the rain and wind storms we’ve had recently going outdoors for any length of time doesn’t sound too appealing, but even just cracking a window can be helpful.
After being cooped up inside for so long, it was nice and refreshing to open the window slightly while doing dishes the other night. I hadn’t really realized what I had been missing until I took a deep breath of fresh air.
The second suggestion is to keep your diet full of vegetables – one of the most important food groups and which gives you energy to keep your levels up.
Another tip I found online is to focus on something you can look forward to.
I try to do that whenever I get down. Plan a fun get together with friends or family or plan a trip, even if it’s a short weekend getaway. Anything to break up the monotony and get a change of scenery for a couple of days.
I’ve found that having something to get excited about helps me get through even the most gloomiest of days.
And lastly, soak up the sunlight.
When you can.
I read recently that you should try and get at least 20 minutes of sunlight each day. That can be difficult during the winter when sunshine is at a premium but take advantage of those days when mister golden sun does make a rare, even if short, appearance.
And if all else fails, and it’s just not possible to shake the January blahs, well at least February is only five days away.