January is a month often associated with the blues – in fact Monday 16 January is called Blue Monday. We thought it would be interesting to look into why this is and offer some tips to counteract any blue feelings that might pop up this month.
Why is January so blue?
Many people feel a little low in January. This is sometimes referred to as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is believed to be caused by the reduced daylight hours which affect our melatonin levels, resulting in lethargy and sometimes symptoms of depression. In addition to this, after the excitement and activities of the Christmas period, January can seem quite dull and boring, the weather’s not great, and it’s often a time when there’s less spending money for treats and going out – especially at the moment.
Shaking those blues
So how can we shake those January blues and enjoy this gateway to a new year?
Here are some ideas:
Get outside – make the most of your school breaks and go outdoors in natural daylight whenever you can, especially at midday and on brighter days.
Keep active – especially if you can get outside. Research has shown that a one-hour walk in the middle of the day can be as good as blue light treatment. Don’t miss any of those PE lessons, and grab every opportunity to get your body moving.
Keep warm – research has found that being cold can increase depression, and staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half, so layer up under those school uniforms.
Eat healthily – a healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance cravings for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Making those healthy choices in the school canteen could make all the difference.
Take up a new hobby – keeping your mind active with a new interest seems can also help with SAD symptoms. It can be anything singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. It’s all about having something to look forward to and concentrate on. Our enrichment programme offers dozens of fun and creative activities for you to try – check them out here.
Get social – even if the weather isn’t great, you can still get together with friends indoors to chat or play games, or arrange a group online meet-up. Spending time with people can be very uplifting, and even just having someone to talk to can make a huge difference to how you feel. Hobbies, mentioned above, can also be a great way to connect with people.
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If you or someone you know is feeling really low at the moment, help is available. Visit our wellbeing resources for more information.