Getting Through The New Year Blues
The Christmas decorations have been taken down, your relatives have (finally) gone home, it’s time to go back to work , and your bank balance is looking very sorry for itself – it’s no wonder that you’ve got a case of the “post-Christmas blues”. However there are things that you can do to lift your mood after the festive period.
1. Give yourself time to adjust
Accept that it may be normal to feel lower in mood after the hype and expectation of Christmas so try to allow a period of transition, for example, by taking an extra day’s holiday and/or easing yourself back into work gently. Allow extra time to check the inevitable deluge of emails received in your absence, minimise the number of meetings in the first few days back, prioritise your work and leave on time rather than staying late to “catch up”.
2. Make a plan
Going back to the monotony of everyday life can be a depressing thought and so a good way to counter this can be to make a plan which gives you something to look forward to, whether this is to run a 5K, go on holiday, learn a new skill or take up a new hobby.
3. Take stock of your life
Occasionally the “post Christmas blues” may be more than just a passing phase and may highlight a difficulty in your life whether at home or work. Allow yourself some time before making any life-changing decisions but do take the opportunity to consider whether there are any aspects of your life that could be improved – maybe it is time to look for a new job?
4. Get healthy
When you are feeling down, there can be a temptation to “comfort eat” (especially if you’ve received a lot of chocolate for Christmas!) but a poor diet can contribute to feeling tired and low. Exercise not only helps you to get rid of those extra pounds that you gained following the excess of Christmas, but can also release mood boosting endorphins, especially if you can get out in the fresh air.
5. Consider if you may be SAD
The shorter winter days may affect your hormones and body clock leading to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Try to make the most of natural light by getting outdoors when you can (which can also increase levels of vitamin D) and leaving your curtains open for as long as possible. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a light box, which simulates exposure to sunlight.
6. Boost your social life
The winter weather may make you feel like hibernating but try to keep yourself busy and make time for socialising with others. Don’t wait to be asked – take the lead and invite your friends for coffee/lunch/a night out.
7. Organise your finances
Christmas can be an expensive time, which can lead to worries over finances. Rather than burying your head in the sand and hoping for the best, review your income and outgoings and set yourself a realistic budget. It may mean “tightening your belt” in the short term, but lead to less anxiety in the long term.
8. Seek help
Ask for help – talk to someone you trust whether it is family, friends, your GP, a counsellor or other healthcare professional.
If you or someone you know is feeling low or affected by depression or you have any questions about depression then please contact me. If you are feeling suicidal then you can contact Samaritans (116 123) or attend your local Accident & Emergency department.