Winter Blues? 7 Ways to Shake Off Your Slump
Are you finding the final couple of weeks of ‘dry’ January, well….. rather dry?
You’re not alone!
The NHS estimates that the winter blues affect approximately 1 in 15 people in the UK. The months of January and February often feel heavier because when the decorations are down, bills are coming in and it’s still dark and cold outside it can feel harder to stay happy.
Many scientists believe the New Year slump is compounded due to the lack of light. Shorter daylight hours cause chemical changes in the body that stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. This affects some people more than others and is thought to be the main cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to Alison Kerry, from the mental health charity MIND, SAD sufferers “produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.”
7 Ways to Shake It Off
Go easy on yourself- at this time of the year nature has slowed down and is encouraging you to rest and retreat too! The challenge with this is that our modern lives and work schedules continue to demand constant activity and productivity. As a starting point, take some of the pressure off yourself. Although the New Year is typically a time for setting resolutions and goals, check whether you may have set the bar too high for yourself. Ditch being perfect and experiment with letting good be ‘good enough’.
Accept that it’s ok not to feel brilliant all of the time – lighten your load, cancel unnecessary commitments, allow yourself to slow down, indulge in some alone time and get some rest. You can transform this time of the year into a wonderful opportunity for self-discovery and self-growth.
Cultivate a gratitude attitude– Expressing gratitude and acknowledging the positive things in our lives expands our energy, enables us to appreciate the blessings we have and helps us to attract more of them. For an instant gratitude hit, make a list of 10 things in your life that you are thankful for… if you can still think of more and want to feel an even greater buzz try writing all the letters of the alphabet from a to z and for each letter fill in the name of a person, place or thing that you are happy to have in your life. Try and tie moments of gratitude in with something you do daily as part of your regular routine – for example, think thankful thoughts while you brush your teeth, as you walk to the bus stop, before you eat lunch, or as you sit down to eat dinner in the evening.
Remove Your Mask – Make a list or draw pictures of all the things you pretend to be in your life. What are you putting up with? What are your frustrations? Where do you feel tension? By expressing these it becomes easier to go behind the mask you wear and rediscover who you truly are underneath.
Lighten Up – Do something fun! Try laughter yoga, watch a light-hearted comedy, puppy sit or put on some feel-good music and dance like nobody is watching ;)
Get Outside – Make an effort to get outside during the day and increase your exposure to daylight. Even just a ten-minute walk during your lunch break will help to boost your mood. Being outdoors is especially important during the winter months when there are shorter daylight hours. Check out my Life Labs video about the benefits of spending time with trees.
Uncover Your Passions – Connect with your true interests to boost your sense of self-fulfilment and help overcome depression. Lacking inspiration? Remember some of the things you used to love to do as a child and reignite old hobbies or experiment by trying something new.
Still feeling totally burned out?
If feeling overworked and overstressed has been a prolonged problem, rather than just January blues - read my bestseller 'Burnout to Brilliance: Strategies for Sustainable Success' or book your complimentary consultation with me today. Click here to view my calendar and choose the slot that best suits your schedule.
If you think you may be suffering from long term stress, burnout, depression or SAD you can also consult your GP for further advice and information.