It’s official – the festive session is over. The Christmas decorations are back in the loft and if like me, you’re probably feeling like you’ve well and truly over indulged on just about everything.
For some people, January can be a tricky time of year. It marks a feeling of anti-climax following all the festivities. The days are cold, wet and short and the end of the month, seems a long way off.
However, it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Its the beginning of a new year, so how about a fresh start? We put together 8 handy tips to help you feel better, brighter and make a positive start to 2017…
1. Eat Well
When we’re feeling down, we’re often drawn to sugar and junk food and we eat too little or too much. You can improve how you feel by eating a good, varied diet with things like nuts, fruit and veg, dairy, fish, pulses and grains.
Vitamin D is a great mood-boaster. Our skin manufactures vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, so during the dark winter months, we probably aren’t getting our recommended daily dose. Luckily, we can top up our intake by including a few specific foods in our diet. Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy, eggs and fish such as sardines, herrings and salmon are all good sources. Plus, along with improving your mood, topping up on vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system and keep bones and teeth healthy.
Regular intake of Omega-3 is good for the heart and also good for the mind – low levels of omega-3 in the body are thought to contribute to low moods, with increased doses even found to potentially help treat some types of depression. Give your motivation a boost by ensuring you’re getting enough of this great fatty acid. Sources include oily fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, soya, rapeseed and flaxseed oil and dark, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.
What we put in our bodies really does makes a difference to what we get out of it.
2. Long-standings aches and pains
If you suffer from a niggling ache or pain, it’s time to get it looked at. Don’t put it off, book an appointment to see the relevant person who can detect what the cause is, get it treated and most importantly, help you to prevent it from reoccurring. Don’t let a long-standing issue with your body define what you want to achieve this year.
One of the best ways to fight depression and improve well-being and mood is regular exercise. This is because when we exercise we release the happy hormone serotonin, which is thought to affect our mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and function.
The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to mean going to a gym and getting hot and sweaty. A brisk walk is perfect and gives you daylight, which also boosts your Vitamin D levels. If you’re anything like me, you may not fancy exercising in this cold weather, but believe me, you’ll feel much better afterwards.
4. Do Something New
Every year is different. How will you make this one different and one to truly remember, rather than waiting for it to happen to you? Why not throw some ideas around till you find one thing you’d love to achieve, do or learn. It might be learning a new language, learning to cook, or just getting round to reading that book you’ve always fancied reading. Work out what steps you need to take to make it happen. Make a plan and start with the first step.
5. Time for relaxation, reflection and a positive mind
The beginning of a New Year can be the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf and look to the year ahead with fresh optimism. Take this month to focus on yourself. Take time out and enjoy doing things that make you happy and feel calm. Reflect on what you want most for yourself for the year ahead.
It can be difficult to feel positive in cold, grey January, but smiling can help lift moods and spread positivity to others. Starting the morning with a smile and a stretch, can set the day off on a positive note and help bring a little happiness to the New Year.
6. Sleep Well
Having a good night’ sleep is guaranteed to make you feel better about most things. Establishing a regular pattern of seven to eight hours per night and keeping bedtime and waking times consistent will help recharge the batteries.
7. Set Realistic Goals
Setting achievable goals for yourself is a great way to feel motivated and driven. Remind yourself of your goals and make sure they’re realistic, as this will only help you keep up the good work – to the end of January and beyond.
We’ve all heard the saying “a clear space, a clear mind”, and as much as we dread starting, there’s no denying the satisfaction you get when the task is done. Dedicate some time this month, to giving your home a good clear out and get rid of anything you’ve been hoarding. Give your wardrobe a early spring clean too. Pop some bits on eBay or do a good deed and donate to the local charity shop.
Most importantly, enjoy the new year and look on it as a fresh start and a new beginning.