Don’t Ignore the Post-Christmas Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people during the winter months, and it can be particularly acute in January after the Christmas celebrations.
I’d like to take a moment to consider those people for whom SAD can escalate into depression. If you know someone who is unusually quiet during the coming month, make sure you pay particular attention to their behaviour, and where possible reach out to them.
If you are somebody who feels lower than usual in January, try a few of the following tips to help clear the post-festive gloom.
1. Put Together a Plan
Following the relative excitement of the Christmas period, returning to a regular, monotonous routine can be enough to dampen anybody’s spirits. A vital method to clear some of this gloom is to plan and arrange something to really look forward to. Use your imagination and consider what really appeals to you, whether it’s a holiday, an event or a regular activity. When you have something really enjoyable in place, the time in between will seem less eternal.
2. Move your Body!
The cold and the gloom may deter you from pulling on those trainers, but getting up and getting out is absolutely vital. Exercise not only works from the scientific aspect – releasing endorphins – but it offers the associated benefits of a change of scenery, the chance to happen upon new experiences, and burns a few calories while you’re at it. It might be something as simple as a run, or better still it could be a regular group activity such as a ball game or aerobics class.
3. Do Something Unusual
Think of something you’ve never done but which appeals to you, and make the arrangements to do it! While you’re putting in place the arrangements you will be focusing on something other than your thoughts, and the challenge (and ultimately the success of overcoming the challenge) will leave you feeling positive and invigorated.
4. Help Others
One of the most cathartic processes you can experience is to help others in a worse position than yourself. Not only will it help to offer a greater sense of perspective, but it will generate a feeling of wellbeing for you and the recipient. By the same token, remember to accept help and attention from others who want to help you.
5. Change Things
If it’s something that makes you feel down, can you change it? Whether it’s your job, your house, your relationship, your self-image – carefully consider if it is something that needs a change. Don’t do anything hasty, just think about the options, the possible actions, and the likely consequences – if it all adds up to a good move, make it happen.