January. Wet and windy January. For those who loved the festivities of Christmas you may feel you’ve lost your sparkle. For those who struggled during the holidays, you may just feel lost.
So what do you do when December is through and you feel like you’re mentally dipping?
Perhaps first and foremost it’s important to know you’re not alone. Post – holiday blues is a very human experience after a period of heightened emotion. January is well known to be a challenging month, in fact, January 24th is said to be the most depressing day of the year.
If this January has you feeling exhausted, lonely, depressed or even numb then here’s some advice on how to navigate through it.
Focus on the Here and Now
We all know of the pressures that a New Year can bring. From celebrating the clock countdown to New Year Resolutions, it feels odd to welcome in a whole new year when you’re struggling day to day.
Instead of overwhelming ourselves with thoughts of another year, let’s bring our focus back to the present, and pay attention to how we are currently feeling.
Here are some gentle prompts we can ask ourselves.
What am I feeling right now?
Has anything triggered this feeling?
What can help me when I’m feeling like this?
What doesn’t help when I am feeling like this?
In a world where we fixate on looking forward, we rarely pay attention to how we feel in the here and now. Reflecting on our feelings, as and when they happen, can help us identify possible causes and triggers. Some people practice this self-reflection through the routine of journaling. For more information about journaling click here.
Looking out of the window the world seems devoid of colour. The grey skies, the wet streets, the dark coats… there isn’t much visually out there to capture the eye or brighten the mood.
The way colour impacts your mood is an ongoing area of study. In fields like colour therapy and colour psychology it is said that certain colours can trigger certain emotional responses. What response it provokes is entirely dependent on the individual.
Let’s have a little think about it, we can wear colour to create character or to camouflage. It perhaps explains why - when we aren’t feeling centred and secure - we opt for darker clothes to be less visible to other people. When we are feeling low we stay away from items that feel too bright, too perky or too confident.
However, it’s times when we are struggling that certain items of clothing can help lift our spirits. Of course, your vivid striped jumper will not eradicate all the world’s problems, but it can certainly make you feel more perky and pleasant for the day.
What’s On Your Plate
Colour is not only important in your wardrobe, but also on your plate.
We all know that – after a month of indulgence – the expectation to eat healthier can form feelings of guilt. It’s hard to prioritise a balanced and nutritional diet when your mood may be dictating what you eat, how often and when.
The relationship between our mental health and diet is complex, however it is a relationship worth exploring. Dehydration, low blood sugar levels, vitamin deficiencies and lack of protein are just some of the food – related issues that can have an impact on your mental health if not addressed.
Eating colourfully is an easy way to remember – and add – more vegetables and fruit to your diet. Eating a meal full of natural colour can add valuable nutrients to your diet, so next time you’re at the supermarket look for a rainbow! As naturally colourful food can give you a boost that your brain and heart needs.
Research shows that people who socialise are less likely to suffer from depression. Which makes perfect sense, as being alone can create the unpleasant, unwanted feeling of loneliness.
If you find yourself feeling lonely then please know this isn’t a personal flaw. In fact, nearly 50% of us in the UK have reported feeling lonely, showing that it is far more commonplace than we realise.
Loneliness can have huge implications for not just our mental health but physical health as well. If you’re feeling lonely then it is important that you reach out to a trusted mental health professional who can help give support and guide you.
In addition, here at the PSS Wellbeing Centres, we have a range of activities to encourage gentle social interaction and personal fulfilment. If you are looking for something to do to keep you content and active then please have a browse on upbeatliverpool.com for upcoming activities or give us a call on 0151 708 0415.
Planning social activities can help counter any boredom, lethargy and loneliness you are feeling. And it doesn’t have to cost – even a walk through the park with a friend – or one of our fabulous PSS Wellbeing Centre activities - can make you feel so much better. Try and plan something to do which brings you that sense of feeling connected to others.
If you find your low mood is more persistent and severe during the winter months then it’s worth visiting your GP as it could be symptoms of SAD.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
For more information about SAD read our article here.
Knowing when to get more support
Of course, there’s times you may need more support to get back on track. If you feel like you’re struggling please book an appointment with your GP or a mental health professional.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) – 0800 58 58 58 (5pm – midnight)
Samaritans – 116 – 123 (freephone 24/7)
Merseycare urgent support – 0800 145 6570 (freephone)