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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Thank Goodness It’s Over!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Thank Goodness It’s Over!

So, Christmas is over. The New Year has come and gone; we are all partied out and have survived the festive season like a pro, so why do I feel so down? New Year is the traditional time to look back over the past year and to acknowledge your achievements and celebrate the unknown ahead. What if I don’t want to look back? What if I only want to look forward?

Try and make it through January

We have had such a fabulous Christmas, spending time with our closest loved ones. We have been partying to excess and are now all partied out, and the “January Blues,” sometimes known as S.A.D., appear from out of nowhere. We can’t do much as we overindulged, overspent, and became overwhelmed by EVERYTHING. All we have to do for now is to try and make it through January without falling apart.

All too often, the 1st of January comes and we are like whirlwinds, taking down the Christmas decorations, cleaning the house, setting ourselves New Year’s resolutions… STOP!!! It will all get done; just take your time.

The cold, dark days

The seasons are changing, although now thanks to global warming, the colder weather doesn’t usually come until February or March, but the days are short and the dark evenings are still here, although getting lighter with each day that passes. Some people are susceptible to S.A.D. during the darker months – Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as “Winter Depression”.

The symptoms of S.A.D can be that you have a “low mood’ and lose interest and pleasure in doing everyday things and activities. You could also feel really low and worthless which has a knock-on effect on your energy. You usually feel lethargic which makes doing daily activities seem and appear much harder than they are.

Getting outside

What causes S.A.D. and how can we help ourselves so that it doesn’t take over and bring us so down that we will require medication? They say that S.A.D. is caused directly by the lack of daylight hours during the winter months. One thing that you can do is to get outside in the sunlight while its around. Serotonin, our “happy hormone” which also affects our moods, sleep, and our appetite, appear to be lower during these winter months and connected to the lack of sunshine. It is vital we get outside and try and get those levels up.

Our body’s internal clock

Our body’s internal clock, also known as our “Circadian rhythm,” can also affect our sleep and other activities as our body uses sunlight to wake us up. During the darker months, we tend to sleep more and become more lethargic than normal. Interestingly, I have just read an article on how our “circadian rhythm” can relate to how well we can recover from operations, determine when we should be taking medication, and why pain is worse during the evening. 


What can we do when the “January Blues” rears its ugly head? One thing that I do is NOT to make any New Years Resolutions. This is just extra pressure on yourself and when you fall off the wagon or fail in any way, it seems to be magnified during January, so don’t do it. Instead, why not make February or March a time for starting “anew or fresh?” That way the pressure is off you.

A brisk walk

Try getting outside and blasting the cobwebs away. Go for a walk, take the children/grandchildren/dog for a refreshing walk. You will feel energized when you return. A brisk walk is a good way to help to revitalize yourself after a month of overindulgence. It doesn’t have to be a long walk.

Research by Japanese Scientists reported that those who chose to take “mindfulness walks” known as “Shinrin Yoku” had lower levels of cortisol (which is the hormone which is released when we are stressed) as well as lower heart rates and lower blood pressure, so what’s not to love?

Light therapy lamps

By getting outside we are getting as much sunlight as we can, and exercise, which helps to boost our mood and our serotonin. You can also buy “light therapy” lamps. There are so may of these around; however, my personal favorite is the lamp that mimics the “dawn”. It gradually wakes you up by increasing its light over a period of time, just like we are woken by the dawn of a new day. This helps you to start the day the right way and in the way your body is used to.

Talking therapies or a doctor visit

Sometimes, we just need to speak about how low we feel, so turning to the talking therapies like counseling can also help. If you find that none of these seem to help you, then perhaps its time to go and have a chat to your Doctor who may prescribe some medication to help with your serotonin levels.

Be kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself is also another good way to cope with S.A.D. Make time to read a book or take a bath. Do something just for you. It isn’t selfish, its self-love, and it’s something we all should be doing regularly for ourselves. Just know that the lighter months will soon be here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.