A journey towards a healthy and happy You

5 Simple Tricks to Help You Beat the January Blues

By: Femi Agbaje-Williams January 24th, 2017

Because even though spring is just around the corner, it feels way further away.

It can’t just be me. You guys must have noticed it too. There have been way too few sunny days, and way too many grey days this month. January is already a tough month because the holidays are over just like that, and apart from Martin Luther King Day (which is only in the US – you guys have no idea how lucky you are to have that holiday), there are no more paid days off. Sigh.

Anyway, I think I’ve hacked this whole January blues thing. Maybe ‘hacked’ is a strong word, but I think at least I’ve figured out a few things that can help.

1. Sleep well

Basic right? And yet somehow we never get this right. Not only will a goodnight’s sleep leave you feeling refreshed and energised the next day, we tend to be in a much better mood (surprise, surprise). It doesn’t just make us fresher on the surface level, but can reduce the likelihood of us suffering from depression. Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation claims that people who suffer with sever insomnia are four times more likely to suffer from depression. When you put it like that, it’s kind of worth getting some decent shut eye.

2. Make ‘me time’ a regular part of your day

To say you need ‘me time’ every day might feel indulgent, but it’s not, it’s necessary. You need to book in a couple minutes for yourself everyday that will ‘keep you sane’. Yup, you read that right. It helps fight depression. We’re not talking about being lonely, we’re talking about intentional time taken for oneself. My recommendation would be to make time to read before bed (and read WHATEVER you want, even if it is trash and doesn’t boost your IQ) with a cup of chamomile tea or vegan hot cocoa. It might be weird for you when you’re first getting started, but give it a couple days and you’ll find yourself looking forward to your little half hour of ‘me time’.

3. Do something new

I’ve always been fascinated by the way little kids can forget what they were sad about if you just distract them with something else. Crying one minute, laughing at something random the next. You might think they’re fickle, but actually distraction is an awesome tool when used right. Scientists have said that stimulating activities keep our minds sharp and can help fight off depression . So find something to do that will keep you busy for a couple minutes each day: take up a new sport, join a club, learn a language, or grab a friend and find new series to watch together for a month – with all your focus on your new hobby, you’ll forget about the crappy weather in no time.

4. Eat fresh and colorful as much as possible

Unfortunately, we’ve all been sold the lie *cough, cough, TV* that high-sugar foods are the key to happiness. It’s a myth. Sure, they do boost your mood momentarily, but that’s because they’re increasing your blood-sugar level. If you want to experience a more stabilised mood – switch to vegetables or fibrous fruit. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, banana, apples, oranges, strawberries, mango, persimmon, raspberries, peas, brussels sprouts, okra. If you’re plate is bright (and there are no food colorings in sight) then you’re doing all right. High-fiber foods break down slowly in the body so that energy is released slowly, rather than all in one go.

5. Get outside

I know, I know, the weather sucks. It’s cold, and windy, and rain keeps ending up on your face despite the fact that you have an umbrella; but trust me you need the fresh air. Take a walk to the grocery store, walk the dog, or go for a jog in the rain – just get a couple minutes of fresh air, and if you’re lucky and the sun is out, even a little vitamin D!

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

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