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5 tips for alleviating the January blues

January is a miserable time for a lot of people. There is a stark contrast between the cheery indulgent yuletide celebrations, and the bleak return to business as usual when the celebrations abruptly end. The swift change in gear can make us feel as if Christmas never happened, but as Christmas can be expensive, the financial drought is a reminder that it has.

There are things that you can do to minimise the January blues:

Refresh your senses

Do something new that you’ve always wanted to do. Boredom can be prompted by over-familiarity with everything that you’ve done before, and predictability doesn’t stimulate the senses. If the new thing that you want to do is learn a new skill, then this will give a great sense of achievement. Trying new things can be exciting and stimulating, and give a sense of rejuvenation and purpose.

Get some daylight

As Winter solstice happened in late December, we are now moving into longer lighter days, which means that there is more opportunity to catch some daylight. There are many benefits of sunlight, including a boost to vitamin D levels and serotonin. Lower levels of serotonin can make the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder worse.

Set realistic New Year Resolutions

Setting realistic new year’s resolutions is half the battle to sticking with them. There’s a chance you could set yourself up for a fail if you assign yourself to tasks that are too monumental to maintain. For example, the resolution of going to the gym 5 times per week may be hard to maintain long-term, and the feeling of failure will be demotivating. Instead, start with baby steps. Start off by going to the gym once per week. If you enjoy it, step it up a gear. If not, choose a different method of exercise, like cycling, or swimming. Go easy on yourself and allow your body to acclimatise to the routine you are committing to.

Plan an escape

Getting out of your usual context and going on a trip to do something leisurely can be very therapeutic. This doesn’t have to break the bank. Even if this is somewhere local for the day, this earmarks something to look forward to. Researching the area before going is part of the fun. Look for some cultural hotspots / best place to eat / quirkiest place to go for a beer etc. The anticipation of a trip away can release endorphins in a way that is akin to getting exercise.


January can seem like a massive hangover following Christmas indulgences. Problems with finances and fraught relationships can be escalated this time of year. A counsellor can help you to process and gain clarity on your feelings. This can be a good start to an emotionally healthy new year.

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