While the start of a new year to some can seem a time for new beginnings and a fresh start, to others the countdown into 2019 brings an overwhelming sense of sadness or lack of optimism for the new year ahead.
In various ways these January Blues do indeed seem well reasoned and make sense, after weeks of over indulging, forgetting about work, deadlines and simply living in the moment over the festive period, the sudden return to reality that January brings can often cause a shock to the system.
Rosemary Sword, an author and developer of Time Perspective Therapy describes the January Blues to be a “form of depression that many people feel after the holidays and sometimes before” and insists this is a very real condition. Lola Ross, a registered nutritional therapist explains that “psychologically, the post-festive period can bring a sense of loss, change or mourning after the busy social season. Dealing with post-holiday debt or having less money available can also make us feel less happy and carefree.”
After the highs that come with the festive period, one can be left feeling both physically and emotionally drained
Often depression or low mood can be linked to other conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes in seasonal pattern (NHS), so it is important to recognise the symptoms of the January Blues, as to ensure you are taking the right steps to feeling better.
After the highs that come with the festive period, one can be left feeling both physically and emotionally drained or exhausted. This exhaustion leads to a decline in your mood and it is here the January Blues are born. Feelings can include low mood, sadness, low energy, low libido, lack of motivation and anxiety. It can also sometimes show itself through sickness such as a cold or flu. Often people have described feelings of no hope, or not having anything to look forward to.
Whilst unlike conditions such as depression or SAD can be remedied through therapy sessions or medication, the January blues affect people in their own ways and hence, has no strict ‘cure’, you need to find a method that works for you. While these solutions may not work for everybody, they may help you overcome some of the emotions.
Take the time to allow yourself to catch up on rest, after an exhausting festive period you need to give your body some time to heal and prepare itself for the new year ahead. Whilst others make resolutions, don’t feel the pressure to set goals for yourself, instead take the time to heal from the dramas of the Christmas period and you can often recharge yourself and lift your mood.
If you feel your mood cannot be lifted and you feel yourself stuck, seek help and guidance
Instead of focusing on the challenges ahead, reflect on what you have achieved in the past year. No matter how big or small, you have undoubtedly made memories and achieved so much more than what may appear to lie on the surface. Often, we can feel as if we are falling behind in comparison to what we see on social media, but we do not celebrate ourselves enough, focus on loving yourself first before comparing yourself to others!
The NHS state regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. “Any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it,” says Dr Alan Cohen, a GP with a special interest in mental health. “Exercise should be something you enjoy; otherwise, it will be hard to find the motivation to do it regularly.”
Most importantly, if you feel your mood cannot be lifted and you feel yourself stuck, seek help and guidance. Whether this is from friends, family or even medical help, talking about how you feel is key in moving forward and isn’t something you should ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about. Self-care isn’t just important, its crucial.