1Life Blog

How to Avoid the Blues of January

Posted by Paul Rayner on 07-Jan-2019 14:30:00
Paul Rayner


After Christmas, it’s common to experience a downturn in mood! The reality of going back to work and facing another year of challenges, combined with the bleak weather outside, can be altogether overwhelming…Enter the January blues! But you’ll be pleased to know that there are some simple steps you can to get back to feeling your best. Here are our five top tips…

1. Exercise

Exercise may be the last thing you want to do right now especially as it’s cold and dark outside… But the truth is, little beats it for bolstering the mood! So, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll start feeling the benefits… and the easier it will become!

You may not like the thought of working out on a cold January morning, but science has repeatedly proven that physical activity is an effective way of ramping up your body’s endorphins (those happy little hormones) and, in turn, lifting your spirits!

Not only does exercise naturally elevate your mood, it also helps to clear your mind, and you’ll get to feel good about working off those over-indulgences from the festive period!

2. Avoid unrealistic New Year’s resolutions

We all hate it when things go wrong. Yet every January, many of us set unrealistic resolutions we’re destined to fail – a feeling we can do without if we’re trying to beat off those dreaded blues!

But there’s an easy way to fix this… make yourself the rule that if it’s not realistic, it’s not a resolution. Instead, set your goals using the SMART formula, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time orientated. Following this approach will ensure you avoid the disappointment of making slower-than-expected progress and will reduce the likelihood of you giving up – the all too familiar story! And when you start making strides in the right direction (rather than failing after only a few weeks), you’ll receive an extra dose of positivity to carry you through this most miserable of months!

Remember, it’s great to set resolutions aimed at bettering yourself, but make sure you can stick to them (we’ve written a whole blog on which ones we think are the best).

3. Stick to low GI foods

When we feel energised, we feel more positive. To achieve this, try to eat foods that are low on the Glycaemic Index (GI), such as cherries, pears, broccoli and lentil soup, to name but a few. They’re digested at a slower rate, meaning you stay fuller for longer, with a steadier source of energy. It may be tempting to reach for the chocolates (especially if you received several boxes of Celebrations for Christmas), but this will just lead to a sharp burst of energy, followed by a big, unhelpful slump. As a result, you’ll soon be reaching for the next sugary fix, which is bad news for any health goals! You may also find it beneficial to consume some low GI foods 2-3 hours before exercising. This will give a good store of energy ready for your next PT session or gym class.

4. Plan your next getaway

There’s nothing like planning a trip away to take your mind off the dark days and cold nights. Scientists say that simply looking forward to a bit of time in the sun is enough keep your endorphins (your body’s feel-good hormones) flowing freely!

Instead of booking your entire getaway in one go, why not spread it out? Each night, do a little more. Research a different place to go, or a different part of your holiday. With the whole world out there to explore, take your time with the planning and enjoy it!

Looking forward to jetting off is usually the perfect remedy to see you through the testing month of January. So, the question is, where will you go?

5. Up your Vitamin D!

This time of year, it can be difficult to get enough Vitamin D, mainly because of the lack of sunlight. Vitamin D is important for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphates in our bodies; nutrients which are required to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. It also helps to regulate sleep patterns, so it’s easy to see how you can feel down in the dumps when you’re low in supply! But by increasing your intake of foods rich in Vitamin D – such as oily fish, eggs, red meat and fortified foods including fat spreads and some breakfast cereals – you can easily lift your mood and return to feeling sunny on the inside! If you want to go one step further, take a trip outside each lunchtime to make the most of the daylight while you can. Combined with a healthy hit of fresh air, you’ll be feeling much cheerier and more productive!

Now that you know the “fab five” for brushing off the January blues, there’s no reason why you can’t begin the year with a bang! If exercise is part of you plan, we have a range of membership options and offers to suit your lifestyle and help you achieve your SMART resolutions.

For further help and support on your New Year goals, call into your 1Life centre to speak to a member of our team.  Find your nearest 1Life centre here.