What are the January blues?

Have you been feeling down since the start of the new year? You’re not alone. The January blues are a very common and real thing. They are a situational depression, associated with how we think and feel about returning to work and regular life after the holidays.

Why do we get the January blues?

The holiday decorations have come down and everything is returning to normal. The family and friends that surrounded you during the holidays are gone and you may have even added some weight on over the holidays – leaving you feeling sluggish and low.

We are more prone to irritability in January and stress levels might increase after festive leave from work. Also, a poor work-life balance might trigger the January blues. It's also the time of year when seasonal depression, known as SAD, sets in likely due to reduced sunlight and shorter days.

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the January blues!

Top tips for overcoming the January blues to facilitate a comfortable and smooth return to work in 2021.

Start your day right!

The way you start your day can impact your mood, so here are some blues-busting tips you can try:

  • Wake up a little earlier and give yourself some extra time in the morning. Rushing around first thing when you wake up is bound to cause unwanted stress, so set your alarm earlier for a more relaxed morning. 
  • Eat breakfast – You'll be surprised the difference this makes! Breakfast will help give you the fuel you need to get through those first few hours.
  • Take time to prepare yourself for work or wear your favourite work outfit. If you feel good about yourself you will feel more positively about the day ahead.

Get enough sleep

Ensure early nights if working the next day to avoid fatigue. Sleep is vital for our bodies to recharge after the holidays or a workday.

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Make plans for the new year

Consider making plans for yourself at the start of the month such as starting a new hobby, more exercise, and spending more time with friends and family (video calls count!).

Focus on the positives

Reflect on positive things you experienced over the holidays, and life achievements. Remember you are unique and valuable. Consider making plans for yourself to have a better year than the previous one. These might help improve your physical and mental health.

Look at your work environment

Try redesigning your workstation. Sometimes, a change in scenery might improve your mood.

Ask for help

If you are struggling and find yourself trapped in the January blues, don’t be afraid to ask for help or support from a friend, colleague, line manager or HR. If you feel more comfortable speaking to a professional, The Doctors Clinic Group offers a range of mental health support and services to help you get through the doom and gloom of January. Never struggle in silence. Chances are, someone you know is going through something very similar.

If you need emergency support, please go to your local A&E or call NHS 111 (in England). You can also contact the following crisis support hotlines:

  • Samaritans – 116 123 (24/7, 365 days a year)
  • SANEline – 0300 304 7000 (6pm – 11pm, 365 days a year)

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