The winter blues tend to occur in January, this time of year conjures a mixture of emotions - the frivolities of Christmas are behind us and hopes soar high for the year ahead; this often gifts us with a refreshed store of energy which we can channel into achieving our hopes and dreams usually in the shape of new year goals and resolutions. January also brings darker days and colder weather which is a difficult climate to sustain motivation in - so, how do you cut through the winter blues and keep on track?
We’ve compiled 9 tips to help you push through January with your head high.
One of the most popular new year’s resolutions people set is to ‘exercise more’. It’s very easy to get started with a rejuvenated sense of motivation, the problems begin to arise when sustaining it. The most drastic physical changes occur within the first few months of exercising, once these changes become less obvious and you see less payoff, motivation can slip with it. Read our guide on how to make exercise fun to keep yourself on the road to health and fitness.
Set realistic goals for yourself
The transition into a new year is also a way of measuring time passed for many which causes people to assess where their current situation sits in line with their aspirations. In a study conducted by The University of Exeter, researchers found that the blue feeling around January is tied to the “perception of a gap between how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. These actual idea-discrepancies are highlighted at this time of the year”. When setting your new year’s resolutions, it’s important to remain realistic in your approach and begin taking steps towards them one at a time.
Vitamin D for winter blues
On average summer gifts us 17 hours of sunlight which drastically contrasts winter’s average of 8 hours. Even though it’s cold outside you should try and get out in the daylight as much as possible to reap the benefits of sunlight including vitamin D, an essential vitamin for your general health and the immune system. On your work breaks, why not take a stroll outside instead of sitting couped up at your desk, or maybe take to foot on part of your commute?
Up your working out game
Bored of your current workout routine? If so, why don’t you try something new? There are thousands of workouts you can get involved in, many of which we’ve explored in our fitness tips. Here are a few inspiring starting points for new approaches for exercise:
Spice up your meals
Variety in routine of any form is a great way to keep things exciting, that means you can apply the same thing to cooking. Why not go for recipes you have never tried or always thought were too advanced for your skillset in the kitchen. Head to our recipes section to find your new favourite dish. Here are a few to get you started:
Spending time with friends and socializing with friends has a positive effect on our mood, it gives you time to unwind or make sense of things that might be stressing you out. You can tick two points on this list off in one by exercising with friends which can give you the appetite for healthy competition. If you don’t have any fellow gym-goers in your friendship circle then group training classes and boot camps are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people.
Wholefoods is the way to go
You’ve most likely heard about a wholefoods diet. Wholefoods are, simply put, foods that haven’t been heavily processed if at all. Heavily processed foods are widely consumed due to the cheap costs involved, however the benefits of natural foods are second to none; the lack of preservatives that extend the shelf-life of food allows you to soak up the goods straight from the heart of the source.
Take a break from technology
In the modern day, we’re incredibly smitten with our smartphones, laptops and TV in general. How often do you spend time away from one of your devices? When working in offices, it’s tough to escape the screen but there are plenty of analogue ways to spend your free time which isn’t mindlessly scrolling through social media - try reading a book, take a walk outside or spend some time with a friend and keep your phone out of arm’s reach in the next room.
Try to stay away from the artificial lights of screens for the last hour before you go to sleep- doing so can disturb your body clock and circadian rhythms. The better your night’s sleep, the more productive and energetic you are! Check out our article on why sleep makes us feel so good for more on the topic.
Start With Small Changes
Don’t tackle your resolutions all at once, deal with them one at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Focus is integral to seeing your new year goals through and integrating them into your day-to-day. Also, be sure not to push yourself too hard - be realistic and slowly take steps towards your goals.
If you liked this then be sure to explore more of our Healthy Living articles.