Top Tips for Beating the Blues
The third Monday in January is commonly known as ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the gloomiest day of the year when you take into account the lack of daylight, worsening weather and lapsed New Year’s resolutions. Although some of the factors that make this dreaded Monday ‘blue’ can contribute to low mood and lack of energy, the original Blue Monday was devised as a marketing formula to help a travel company find the most successful day to sell holiday packages, so it’s not necessarily the saddest day of the year after all!
However, it is estimated that over 2 million people in the UK, and more that 12 million across Northern Europe, will get the ‘winter blues’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this winter. This year Blue Monday falls on Monday 15th January, so on this day we’re looking at the our best tips and tricks to beat the blues and feel great no matter what the reason or season!
What can you do to beat the blues?
Keep Active & Exercise
It can be difficult to find the motivation to workout during the colder months, you might feel like hibernating until the clocks spring forward. However, research has found that even a 15 minute walk on your dinner break is “enough to increase crucial neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which help energise the brain and regulate circadian rhythms”.
Whether you choose to take part in your favourite Activ8 fitness class, enjoy a wet’n’wild time with your family at Splash or a brisk walk around the Barrage, any activity that gets your heart-rate rising can make you feel good, give you something to look forward to and help to improve your mood.
Brave the cold
It’s also important to soak-up the daylight and get some vitamin D whilst the days are shorter, just an hour of sunlight daily can be as helpful as light therapy for coping with the winter blues. So get wrapped up, head outside and get those steps in!
(If the cold is just too much to bear this time of year, you can also introduce light colours into your home to reflect the outside and create a brighter environment or just make sure to open your curtains and sit by your windows to let the light in)
Be mindful of your diet
New Year, New Me is so last year – this year it’s all about being you but healthier!
Simple dietary swaps can improve brain function, increase energy levels and ward off the blues. Overindulging over the festive period can leave us with a craving for carbohydrates, replace your usual cupboard staples with complex carbohydrates such as oats, beans, lentils and brown rice – these pack in more fibre and nutrients than simple carbs, help you feel fuller for longer and reduce the risk of a mood-altering, midday sugar crash.
The vitamin D which we would usually gain from sunlight can be found in our food too – sources of vitamin D include milk, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fish.
For more dietary advice visit NHS Eat Well.
Whether it’s taking part in Samaritans ‘Brew Monday‘ for a cuppa and a catch-up with the people you care about, asking your GP about talking therapies such as counselling and CBT or getting it out on paper through journaling – a problem shared really can be a problem halved! Sometimes, talking about your feelings can help to reduce them and sharing your thoughts with somebody who understands can prove to be very therapeutic.
There’s an option out there to suit everybody, find what best works for you and get talking – you can find some top tips for having difficult conversations here.
Do what makes you happy!
Our last (and possibly most important!) tip, is to just do a bit more of whatever makes you happy! Self care looks different for everybody, whether it’s relaxing with a good book, cuddles with your pet, working up a sweat or spending some quality time with friends and family. January can be a month filled with the pressure of unrealistic resolutions and act as a benchmark for reflection on years gone-by, be kind to your mind, do what makes you feel good and make time for yourself!
Find out what our Activ8 Club Managers will be doing to beat the winter blues…
Exercise can be a great way to boost your mood and Tees Active has lots of endorphin boosting activities for all the family to enjoy – check out our jam packed schedule here.
Mental health matters, please contact your GP for medical help. If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can call Samaritans at any time on 116 123 or contact any of the following mental health organisations for help and support: