The third Monday of January is deemed as the gloomiest and most depressing of the year and overall, January remains a challenging month for many battling the post-holiday blues.
Sometimes these feelings may also not be transitory, but rather rooted in deeper issues sparked by work and life stress.
We share some tips to tackle Blue Monday and coping mechanisms if the situation is more complex.
Take time to breathe
You probably hear this a lot, but sometimes the simple act of taking a series of deep breaths can be highly calming. And you don’t need to be a yoga veteran to do so. Focus on breathing in and out, counting to 4 in and to 4 out again. This tactic can also be incredibly helpful if you are having difficulty quieting your mind when trying to fall asleep.
Have a break
This can be a break from our desk or taking a mini-break or holiday. If your job is primarily desk-based, commit to getting up and moving regularly for 5 minutes every couple of hours. Ensure you take your lunch break away from your desk, even if you can only afford to do so for 15 minutes. Think about your last holiday or weekend away; is it time to book a relaxing treat away?
Do your chores during the week
Imagine working all week and then having all your chores to do on the weekend. It will be on your mind all week. Make the weekend a time of fun and rest as much as possible. It’s not always possible but try to change your routine so that the weekends aren’t just supermarket stress and chores.
Always have something to look forward to
Make time to see that dear friend or loved one with whom you keep meaning to catch up. Take that pottery class you have been putting off. Make a point of booking that massage or spa retreat. Or simply go sit in a park, or café with a book. Give yourself small things in your week or month to look forward to and be excited about.
The role of the gut
The old adage ‘we are what we eat’ is as true for emotional as for physical health. Our Head Doctor, Enam Abood explains that the state of our gut impacts our mood, energy levels, and state of mind. If the gut is inflamed or not functioning properly, it makes the absorption of nutrients difficult. 80% of our immune system has been linked to our gut flora, our good bacteria – it is responsible for 80% of our immunity. If there are some important nutritional elements missing, then we are not getting enough food to the brain, serotonin levels drop, and our endorphin levels are insufficient. A balanced diet is important, as is being aware of any intolerances and not disregarding them as they raise havoc on the gut. If you are unsure, our extensive allergy, lactose and fructose intolerance and microbial organic testing can assist. We also conduct a health risk profile which is a full assessment of nutritional deficiencies and more.
Don’t deal with it alone
If you’ve had a prolonged period of stress and have been persistently feeling low, it might be time to talk to someone. Reaching out to friends and family is good but you might also need to speak to someone impartial. Our psychotherapist Dr Ali Shakir says, “the people around us are invested in us feeling better, often don’t want to hear about our despair or difficulty. An impartial therapist isn’t affected by what you say and you are free to say what is truly on your mind and heal from it.”
Appointments with Dr Shakir are available – call us on 020 7323 1023. Otherwise, you can check the UKCP and BACP websites for qualified therapists in your area.