The days are short, cold, and wet. Festive overindulgence has left you feeling sluggish. Your New Year’s resolutions have been lost in the fog of January. There are many reasons we might feel down at this time of the year, with many of us experiencing low mood during the cold and miserable weather.
Many people find that talking to someone helps, but we recognise there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different things work for different people at different times. So we’ve put together some tips to help you feel more cheery during the cold weather.
January is a dark month in the UK and limited sun exposure means our bodies produce less vitamin D, which is associated with healthy brain function. The best way to get vitamin D naturally is from the sun, so try to get out and about as often as possible.
Studies have shown that a lack of Vitamin D can contribute to us feeling down, so if you aren’t able to get outdoors during the day, consider taking supplements and make sure you’re getting your intake through vitamin D rich foods, such as oily fish, red meat and eggs. Vegetarian and vegan foods with high levels of vitamin D include mushrooms and fortified products such as soy milk, orange juice and cereal.
If you drink alcohol, giving up the nightly tipple, even just for a few weeks, can lead to better sleep, improved mood and higher energy levels. Not to mention a bit of extra pocket money! A month away from the drink might also prompt us to consider our long-term relationship with alcohol, which is never a bad thing!
Many of us can feel adrift without clear goals in life. Realistic life goals and daily objectives can give us a sense of purpose, help us feel more in control and set us on the course to a more positive outlook. To get started, think about what’s important to you. What would you like to do more of? What’s an area of life you would like to improve? Also make a list of the things you enjoy and try to do these activities in small amounts when you’re feeling down.
Many people find that keeping active helps them maintain positive mental health. Studies have even shown that exercise can work as effectively as antidepressant medication. This doesn’t have to be a trip to the gym or a 10k run - just a 20-minute walk can make you better. If it really is too cold and wet to venture outside, there are lots of different things you can try at home from simple standing stretches to online exercise routines. Even household chores like hoovering or cleaning can help - just enough to keep your body moving.
If your mood is affecting your life, or if you're unsure and feel concerned, speaking to a healthcare professional could help you better understand how you're feeling. For many people, talking about their mood is the first step to feeling better.
We offer trusted support day and night, all year round, and you can speak to us from your mobile, tablet, or laptop. All of our clinicians are handpicked and registered with the General Medical Council and can discuss, advise and put you in touch with specialist support if needed.