When talking about January blues, everyone focuses on shorter days and lack of sunlight, but could there be a lot more contributing to how you feel this month that are way more in your control than you might think? Let’s break down some of the key factors adding to stress this month so that you can set easy and management goals to boost your mood, one by one.
The Y Code team have been noting down what’s on their mind this month. We have discovered five key themes:
- Alcohol consumption, and namely withdrawal
- Shorter days that lead to a lack of Vitamin D
- The hangover of December's lack of routine
- A reduction in movement over the holiday break
- Financial stress from increased spending at the end of last year
Let’s look at each challenge and see the solutions to each one.
Could alcohol withdrawal be affecting your January mood?
The challenge: Alcohol withdrawal is not just for people who misuse alcohol. Many people increase their alcohol consumption in December with an increase in social events, and the outcome goes beyond a simple hangover. Drinking rapidly stops when January comes around. If you find yourself craving a beer or a glass of wine during your first few evenings off the booze, you are not alone. Restlessness and anxiety are two common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Our suggestion: If you are experiencing cravings, restlessness and anxiety after the festive period, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eating regularly and healthily, and finding ways to relax like going for a walk or reading.
Here we explore alcohol withdrawal and relief in greater detail.
Shorter days are a leading contributor to low moods
The challenge: Research has found that the first 3 hours of waking up is the best time to soak up Vitamin D, but with days being short and grey, how much Vitamin D are you able to take in? Plenty of people go to work in the dark and get home at night. This can affect your sleep, make you feel tired, and even affect your hair and skin.
Our suggestion: Vitamin D spray or drops should be taken from September until April.
Could your lack of routine from December be creating anxiety in January?
The challenge: After taking the time to build habits, and starting to feel the benefits of them, many people move around in December. Travel, socialising and a break from work mean that it’s normal for routine to fall out the window. You created your routine and habits to protect yourself from certain lifestyle challenges. When you break these routines, you may start to see some familiar, darker traits reappear.
Our suggestion: Focus on the positives. The ability to break your routine is as healthy as your ability to create one. Taking a break, resetting and even having a chance to miss your routine can be integral to gaining perspective. Be kind to yourself whilst you start to rebuild your routine in January.
Did you reduce your exercise in December?
The challenge: For previously mentioned reasons, it can be tough to stick to the same type of exercise you usually do. Maybe you can’t make it to the gym as much, or perhaps your body is asking for a rest. Reduction of exercise will inevitably reduce those happy hormones that you pump up.
Our suggestion: The good news is, a break from exercise is integral. Even Olympic athletes need the odd two-week break. What's more, exercise does not have to be intense to be effective. Try to prioritise a daily long or brisk walk where you can, if not for your fitness, for your mood and energy.
Feeling the post-Christmas financial pinch
The challenge: Even if you’re organised and start Christmas shopping in September, December somehow manages to make its way into your highest spending month. The lack of control can contribute to stress, sleepless nights and difficult conversations.
Our solution: Take back control. Create a budget for the first few months of the year. Even one month of reduced spending can increase control and reduce all the angst that comes with the December overspending.
If you want to hear more about any of these subjects, or anything else for that matter, drop us a direct message on Instagram. Putting you at the forefront of all our conversations is our number one goal; we are here to help.