For many of us January is a long, dull, grey month with short days, and long nights. The excesses of Christmas are leaving us with tighter waist bands, empty banks accounts (and pay day is still a week away for many of us) and credit card bills are starting to roll in. It’s no wonder that the ‘January Blues’ hit many of us so hard. However, considering that January is 1/12th of the year, it’s unfortunate to spend such a large proportion of the year feeling low. Here are a few tips to help you feel better this January.
• Exercise: when we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which make us feel happy and relaxed. Aim for 30 minutes of activity five times a week. It doesn’t have to be done all at the same time, short bursts of activity throughout the day still count as long as the exercise is sufficient to make you feel warm and slightly out of breath, it can include housework, gardening, walking or swimming. It not only will make you feel better but it will also help you lose excess pounds gained over Christmas, reduce stress and boost your immune system.
• Sleep: ensure you are getting sufficient sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed. Stick to regular times for going to bed and getting up in the morning to help reset your body clock.
• New Year’s resolutions: don’t beat yourself for breaking New Year’s resolutions. Many of us make unrealistic resolutions because we feel we should be doing something. Instead make resolutions that are achievable and break these down into smaller steps and reward yourself when you achieve each one, e.g. if you give up smoking, take one day at a time, save the money you would normally spend on cigarettes and at the end of a week buy yourself something small as a reward, or if you plan to lose weight, treat yourself to a pampering session (e.g. an extra long soak in the bath) when you lose 4lb.
• Spend time each day outside in the day light and fresh air: go for a walk at lunchtime; take the dog for a walk at weekends, this will all count towards your exercise as well.
• Make a point of socialising: it doesn’t have to be an expensive night out, invite some friends around for a coffee morning or cook them dinner, or you could try meeting new people by joining a club or starting a night class.
• Pay attention to your diet: don’t skip breakfast and eat a balanced, varied diet that includes plenty of fruit and veg.
• Appreciate all the good things that happen to you in a day: they can be so easily overlooked or forgotten but small acts of kindness from strangers as well as friends should be appreciated – e.g. someone letting you in front of them in a supermarket queue, a text or phone call from a friend.
• Finally - smile: research has shown that when we smile our bodies release endorphins which make us happy, which in turn makes us smile more – it’s a win-win situation that’s certainly worth trying.
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