5 tips to beat the January blues
Posted on 12 January 2022
The third Monday in January is usually known as Blue Monday. Our worries about paying off our post-Christmas debt combine with dark cold nights to create what’s been called “the most depressing day of the year.” But it doesn't have to be like this!
1. Debt help
If you’re struggling with bills spilling over from Christmas, help is at hand. Check out our article on Debt advice to find out about charities and free organisations that will help you work out next steps.
It’s best to get in touch as early as possible, before the debt has a chance to snowball, but it’s never too late to seek help. Many people who ask for help with debt say they wish they’d done it sooner. Working on a plan will make you feel less stressed or anxious and more in control of your life.
2. Talk to someone
Talking about your feelings can help you maintain good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Sharing how you feel – good or bad – with a trusted listener can help you let off steam and prevent stress building up.
If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Check out our article How to ask for help with mental wellbeing for more advice and support.
Likewise, if you know someone is going through a rough time, make sure they know that you’re always ready to lend a listening ear. Events like break ups, money troubles or just feeling down about the state of the world are easier to get through if you have a supportive friend to talk to.
3. Go outside
If you feel low in winter, get outside as often as you can, especially on bright days. Going for a walk every day will help maximise your exposure to daylight and it’s a good way to get some gentle exercise. Even sitting by a window can help in the short term.
What’s more, studies have shown that there’s a connection between spending time in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Just 90 minutes in a natural environment lowers blood pressure, soothes the mind and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Even if you live and work in an urban area, try to find some local green space to spend time in – search online for public parks, gardens, playing fields, and nature reserves near you.
4. Stay social
Cold dark evenings can make us want to hibernate, but it’s important for our mental health to have social events to look forward to. Schedule in time to catch up with family and friends, even if it has to be remotely. You can always reach out to loved ones with a text, a phone call or video chat; or sending a handwritten card is a nice gesture that will bring a smile to someone’s day.
It’s also worth checking in with your neighbours (socially distanced of course) to see how they’re getting on and if they need any help. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference and the act of helping out will improve your own mental wellbeing.
5. Enjoying, not enduring the winter
January isn’t all doom and gloom – there are plenty of good things about winter too. Embrace the season with activities like walks in the countryside, ice-skating, warming winter food, or snuggling on the sofa with a film.
This is your chance to enjoy big woolly jumpers, real fires, and frosty mornings – so make the most!