Christmas is done, New Year is long gone, and your body will surely be appreciating a break from excessive rich-food and social over-drinking.
But as the discarded Christmas trees litter the streets, the reality of going back to the same-old routine can mean that seasonal affected disorder or S.A.D. can be a very real challenge. Thankfully there are some practical habits which will help you to beat the January blues. Not rocket science by any means but all are scientifically proven to work.
So here are The Way of the Tortoise top-tips to beat the January Blues:
Drink a glass of water - first thing to do when you wake up. Why? You’ve been asleep for 8-10 hours and your body needs it. It’s refreshing, it’s great for your energy levels, and your skin. Your body is made up of 60% Water. So drinking more just helps everything.
No need for an extensive new gym regime (unless you want to of course).
Let’s not forget that 90% of all New Year’s Resolutions are forgotten by mid February. Instead, take tortoise steps and walk instead of using the car on a local trip, or choose the stairs instead of taking the lift? These simple challenges will boost your heart rate to pump a little fresh oxygen into your veins. You will feel better, and you have to start somewhere. Next step might be training for a marathon, but today just make a start.
It really is the best medicine. A good belly laugh is a workout for your innards, boost oxytocin levels and helps to shift feelings of despair. If you’re laughing then it’s not possible to feel sad. Your body is literally hijacked by happiness. It may sound obvious but replacing a negative emotion with a positive one is incredibly important, and fun. So, watch those videos of cute cats, or people belly flopping into a pool. Whatever floats your comedy boat, give yourself a little dose of that medicine.
This time of year, when it’s dark by 6pm and its still pitch black when the alarm wakes you up, the tendency is to hibernate like a big old bear. Which can often lead to bulking up on starchy, sugary comfort food. Instead why not give your body the best chance to repair itself by simply having soup for your evening meal. We recommend a winter vegetable like butternut squash or a carrot. You can make your own but let’s be realistic, most supermarkets do a decent one without additives which will only cost £1 - £3 depending on where you shop of course. Boost the vitamins by throwing in a handful of spinach leaves and topping with Houmous (for protein) and olives (for healthy oil).
Depression symptoms often increase in the new year and can go unrecognised. These are things we all feel, like hopelessness, low energy, lack of motivation, difficulty in sleeping, being overly emotional. Self-awareness is key to manage the symptoms. You should go to your GP if these symptoms are affecting your mood and making it difficult to engage with your day to day life.
Journalling can do wonders – this doesn’t have to be an essay. Start small (as always with the tortoise) by putting a notepad and pen by your bed. You should write for just 5 minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We suggest a structured journal such as The Way of the Tortoise Journal but if you want to get started straight away here’s a quick tip on effective journaling:
First divide up your page into 3 sections.
In the first section write a short list of things you are grateful for in your life right now. This could be simple; people, friends, family, work, TV shows you like, your health, a favourite pair of shoes, really anything!
In the second section write one thing that you can do to help others today (without reward or recognition). For example, hold a door open for someone, pay for a cup of coffee for the person behind you in the queue, call a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. Something that takes you away from your own thoughts and gets you thinking of others, if just for a moment
Section 3 is space for you to write a positive affirmation about how you choose to be. They key here is to choose a positive phrase, a positive space that you can decide on then step into. For example; today I will smile at everyone I meet, or I am a confident, lucky person, or I am capable, happy, and I love my life.