Monday, January 21, 2013

Blue Monday : tips to help beat winter depression

If you haven't heard already, today is officially Blue Monday. Yes, the 21st January is the most depressing day of 2013.

If you find yourself at a low point at this time of year then you're not alone. Although today is supposed to be the worst day (although it was apparently originally given this title by a travel company, one of the many retail markets that usually see January as a busy month for bookings) a lot of people generally find January pretty hard-going. Me included. Although I do not officially have a recognised condition such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), there is no doubt in either my mind, or my wife's, that I get a form of winter depression.

For myself it is undoubtedly a combination of factors, including a lack of daylight and weather (and moving to Scotland 6 months ago surely hasn't made a positive contribution to this), as well as a post-Christmas dip in energy and finances. This is then amplified by the need to sort out and pay not-only my quarterly company VAT bill but my yearly personal taxes.

But if you suffer a similar effect, here's a few things I have found that can help counteract the January blues:

Exercise:
Regardless of whether you feel the need to shake-off those extra Christmas pounds or not, get out and get your heart pumping (personally I've just ordered myself cycle trainer and have set my sights on competing in Scotland's only closed road cycling competition in May). But even if you don't have much time or the hefty credit card bill means you can't get that gym membership you wanted... any form of exercise can potentially release endorphins. So go walk the dog briskly, run to work or just get out and get some air through your lungs.

Light:
I'm lucky that the office I currently work in has big and wide windows that let lots of light in. However previously I've worked from home at this time of year in a north-facing room shadowed by trees and sometimes even worse... in an office with no natural light, where I really felt the effects. If you work in a similar environment, I really recommend you doing all you can to get the most chance of daylight. Swap seats with a colleague near the window, walk outside in your lunch break or even get yourself a SAD lamp such as this one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lumie-Brightspark-Lightbox-Stylish-Aluminium/dp/B001JJEI5O
(My friend Alan swears his lamp really helps his productivity in the winter months)

Tell people how you are feeling:
Yes, I know it may sound a bit daft, but tell you family, friends and colleagues how you feel can help... Particularly if you're a bit down. Don't bottle it up and stew in your own juices... share your thoughts during the winter months.

Here's hoping you have a good 21 January. But if you suffer in a similar way or have any other tips on how to combat the winter blues, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Post a Comment