January Blues: Where Do They Come From & How Do I Beat Them?

With Monday 21st January (otherwise known as Blue Monday) fast approaching, it’s time to arm yourself with knowledge about the January Blues, and how to combat them.

January is renowned for being the ultimate low-point of the year; the short straw, the Bounty of the Celebrations box, the yellow Power Ranger. Whichever way you look at it, you most likely have done one of the following; a) splashed out over the festive period, b) earned yourself a mince-pie-midriff or, c) been caught in a drinking-hangover-drinking spiral for days.

For most people, the beginning of the year can be anti-climax following all the festivities. The University of Exeter has also found that a ‘low’ mood is exacerbated by the gap between expectations and reality, and never is this more real than in January. There’s also scientific evidence discovered by the NHS to support the idea that seasons can affect our moods (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In fact, they estimate millions of people suffer from SAD.

Finally, combine this with the fact that Christmas excitement is kicking in earlier and earlier each year as the retail industry tries to achieve an even greater margin during this period. With the anticipation starting even sooner, the drop-off in festivity will always leave an even greater lull.

All of the above manifest into a perfect storm; the January blues. Here’s how we recommend you combat them and start 2019 strong.

Rest

The pace of December would be impossible to sustain throughout the whole year so take a month to relish those early bedtimes and other self-care routines, whether it’s Dry January, Vegan January or whatever works for you to press the ‘Reset’ button.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Especially cherish the smaller achievements that you may not always notice day-to-day; your boss sends you an e-mail of praise or you manage to make it to the gym before work one day. Treasuring your successes will brighten even the darkest January day.

Create Kind Resolutions

Astoundingly, 80% of New Years’ Resolutions fail by February. In the fragility of the January blues, the last thing anyone needs is the pressure of an impossible resolution; “reach this promotion by this point” or “secure this payrise by then”. Focus on more holistic resolutions, perhaps about a more positive mindset or workplace productivity. ‘To Be’ lists instead of ‘To Do’ lists are a way around putting too much pressure on yourself.

Give Time To Others

Acts of kindness are one of the best ways to boost your mood, a study by XX has found that 96% of people found that volunteering enhanced their sense of purpose. LandAid – the property industry charity campaigning to end youth homelessness – always has opportunities to fundraise. You can view their full events calendar here, such as for PropSki which takes place in January.

Book Time Off

94% of people claim to have more energy and less stress after taking time off work, so whether it’s an all-inclusive beach break in Ibiza, a weekend in Edinburgh or a day just at home in your pyjamas, booking time off later on in the year will give you something to work towards during those tricky January days.

Change Your Perspective

January will always roll round no matter how much you hope it won’t. Arm yourself, and your colleagues, with ways to brighten these 31 days, such as the above, so they’re not just bearable – but enjoyable!

This article is not designed to provide advice for those experiencing depression; please contact your GP or get in touch with the Samaritans Helpline on 116 123.