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  • Writer's pictureHelen

How to cope with the January Blues

With the cold weather and dark nights still upon us, it can be easy to fall into a low mood, fatigue, and for some people depression. The third Monday of January is known as "blue Monday", and people can often feel sad or stressed. It is important to be kind to yourself at this time of year and add in some self-care practices to look after your emotional well-being. Here are some tips to follow to help you to feel better:

Try journalling. Getting your thoughts out on paper has beneficial results. It is like a brain dump of things that are going on for you, sometimes things you weren't aware of that are bothering you. It doesn't have to take long, but you may start to feel lighter. I tend to journal first thing in the morning and find it helps set me up for the day.

Breathing exercises. Doing a 4,7, and 8 breathwork can calm our mind particularly when we have a lot going on and are feeling overwhelmed. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 and breathe out through your mouth for 8. Five to ten minutes of this kind of breathing can really slow the nervous system.

Go for a walk. Even if it is cold, wrap up warm and move your body. Numerous studies have shown that walking has beneficial results and can do wonders for our mental health. Even a 10-minute walk can make a difference. I don't always feel motivated at this time of year but after a walk, I have a different mindset and feel so much better afterwards.

Gratitude. At the end of the day think of 5 things you have been grateful for that day. This focuses your mind on positive thoughts and can change your brain in a positive way. Writing them down is even more powerful

Relax. Take some time to try and relax. Read a book, go to bed earlier, take a bath.

Eat well. Eat foods like salmon, seeds, and nuts – which are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these are great for your mental health and cognitive function, which is vital as we can be more prone to brain fog and low moods during wintertime. Eat vitamin D-rich foods (mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified cereal) or take a supplement during the winter months. Vitamin D is good for our immune system and bone health.

Meditation. Even a short meditation every day can help you to feel calmer. I use a free app called Insight Timer and do a 10-minute morning meditation most days. It has definitely made a difference in how I feel.


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