Five simple steps to ditch the January Blues
Ditch the January blues and project positivity into the new year and beyond with these five simple steps.
1) Boost your mood
A tried and tested way to boost your mood is to gently ease yourself out of the excesses of the festive season and switch back to a healthier eating, drinking and exercise regimen. It doesn’t necessarily mean a subscription to that expensive gym that you will probably visit twice. Getting out and about in the fresh air with the dog or arranging a regular kickabout with your mates could be the ideal starting point for increasing your activity levels, make it a regular habit and just build up your activity from there.
For those of us who are disciplined enough to follow a healthy lifestyle for most of the year, this may be relatively simple once the Christmas treat stash has been depleted. But if the standard seasonal excesses of December actually started somewhere around September a year or three ago, giving up the gobble and guzzle and permanently switching to a healthier routine will be much easier said than done.
While the appeal of stodgy, comfort foods during the winter can be hard to resist, a healthy, balanced diet that contains at least five portions of fruit and vegetables and some lean protein can help you get on top of the post-Christmas podge, boost your energy levels and help to improve your mood.
For a range of tips, tricks, vouchers, apps and more to help you cut down on fat and sugar, boost your fruit and veg intake and get active, visit www.change4life.com
2) Be kind to yourself
Mental health charity Mind offers a wealth of advice and information for those seeking to improve their mental wellbeing with the self-care approach, including eating regular, healthy meals, taking regular exercise and getting enough sleep. Talking therapies are also becoming increasingly recognised as a valuable tool, sometimes alongside medication, to help those suffering with the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
If you really can’t change a situation that is out of your control, then perhaps try changing your perspective on it. Try to focus on the positive areas of your life and be careful not to slip into the habit of negative thinking, often indicated by an automatic negative response to most everyday situations, (think Victor Meldrew) often accompanied by grumbling and gossip, which over time can also have a knock-on effect on the wellbeing of those around you.
Tip: If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negativity, try to give yourself ten seconds to think before reacting to a situation or question. Ask yourself: “Why am I thinking/saying this?”
Sometimes a period of quiet is all the mind needs to prepare, to take stock of events and to reset. Take time for yourself to relax each day with a newspaper or a book, in the bath, listening to a few of your favourite uplifting CD’s or watching a TV show you enjoy. Once you feel calm and collected, remove all distractions and spend a few more minutes with your own thoughts. You might even have a lightbulb moment!
If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, visit www.mind.org for advice, support and information.
3) Step outside your comfort zone
Take yourself out of the often cyclical circle of negative thinking for a while and spend time visiting friends, elderly neighbours or relatives or helping someone else. It may sound like a cliché but there really is no substitute for face-to-face human interaction, so log off of your social media account for a while and seek out some company.
Many people also find that taking part in voluntary work with a local charity also results in a boost to their mental wellbeing so if there’s a cause close to your heart, find a local branch and offer to lend a hand. To find out more about volunteering opportunities in your area, visit www.ncvo.org.uk
4) Feeling down? Join the club!
Always fancied the idea of learning a martial art, ballroom dancing or to play the guitar but never got around to taking classes? Love watching other people create extravagant cakes on TV but never really put your own skills to the test? Now is the time to expand your skillset and your social circle by joining a new club or taking up a new hobby or sport.
5) Set realistic goals for yourself
Most of us begin a New Year with a fresh slate and at least one or two good intentions for the year ahead, however trying to be too ambitious could mean failing miserably at the first hurdle which often sends people into a spiral of demotivation and a return to bad habits.
Consider setting yourself a series of realistic, achievable goals to meet spread throughout the year and tackle them one at a time. Think about recording your progress on a blog or social media page, a process that many find cathartic as they work to overcome problems, habits or addictions. Your story may inspire others and you can also draw on support from those in a similar situation to help you stay motivated to continue making progress.
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