January: The Struggle Is Real
Have you been feeling down these past couple of weeks? Not quite yourself? Don’t worry - this is a totally normal way to feel this time of year, it’s known as the ‘January Blues’. A good way to think about it is that for everything that goes up, it must also come back down. With the festive season behind us, we just had a big up and so now it’s time for the down. However, we are going to help you beat the down and set you right! Hopefully you will rediscover your motivation and get-up within our next few points:
1. Understand this is normal. As above, it is a very normal to feel blue this time of year, and can often have little to do with you personally. It’s thought that the lack of sunlight during winter months means we have a build up of the hormones which make us sleepy. That sluggish, demotivated feeling can make you feel down. Understanding that this feeling is because of forces out of your control will help you to not feel so guilty and bad about feeling this way, this will help lift a lot of the burden. Ride the wave.
2. Stock up on vitamin D. If it’s the long nights that are getting us down, then the first thing to do is to try and spend some time out and about during daylight hours. Granted, the UK often does leave some things to be desired, such as prolonged sunlight and sustained periods of heat, however getting outside for a little while during the day will go a long way to making you feel good. Failing that, you could take some vitamin D supplement tablets, or eat some mushrooms.
3. Exercise. There are so many reasons why you should do this! Firstly, exercising in the day will get you out and about (see Point 2) , so that’s an immediate win. As a student, you are probably spending a lot of your time up in your room revising/procrastinating. This means you are not moving very much and stressing about your upcoming exams/deadlines. This is not doing wonders for your mood, so getting up and moving will help improve the way you feel. Furthermore, exercise is a great way to burn of all the stress you are building up. Scientists have found that exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Honestly, exercise is probably the best thing you can do on this list, even if it is just a daily short walk.
4. Eat the correct food. We all know we spent the holidays overindulging (and if you didn't, then congrats on being superhuman), and you may feel sluggish now because of it. Your body is running low on the nutrients it needs. Its time to start eating healthily - we are talking foods high in Vitamin C, D, B-12 and E. These foods are your Citrus Fruits (C); Nuts (E); Mushrooms (D) and your Greens, like spinach, for Vitamin B-12. Basically, any food your mum had to make you to eat as a child is what you need to be eating. If you really want to commit to detoxing from the festive break, you should join us at MKF in doing a Vegetarian Week!
5. Set yourself goals. Set yourself goals that you want to achieve this year, but not the ‘I must stop’ goals. Set yourself things you want to achieve, such as a holiday you really want to go on and other small accomplishments you want to achieve. This will give you things to look forward to, and encourage looking ahead to exciting things rather than the mundane present. Even if it's an afternoon spent with your friends, lunch out with a sibling, a Friday night out, or a cosy night in with allllllll the pizza. Keep living your best life - even if you're feeling glum.
Even if you feel you can only do a couple of things on this list, it will go a long way in helping you feel like your best self again. You got this, peeps!
This is an article designed to promote healthy mindsets and positive wellbeing to beat those January blues, and is not aimed to remedy serious mental illnesses. If you feel you are feeling low or depressed, we strongly recommend speaking to trained services who are able to offer free, confidential advice. Click here for more information.