The holidays are over, and the new year has officially commenced. For many, the start of the year is a period of fresh beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. However, some can find themselves feeling gloomy and dejected this time of year. This is commonly known as the January Blues. But what exactly is it? How does one get it? And what can you do against it?
What is the January Blues?
The January Blues is a form of depression that often arises in the beginning of the year. It generally starts after the holidays and can last for as short as a few days to as long as an entire month. The January Blues is, what experts call, a situational depression. This is a form of depression that often follows after a change in one’s life or a traumatic event which causes immense stress to the individual.
“In extreme cases, feelings of no hope can occur and people suffering from the January Blues often describe a feeling of ‘not having anything to look forward to’,” Lola Ross (nutritional therapist)
However, in most cases the January Blues is literally just that: a feeling of melancholy in January.
What causes the January Blues?
The January Blues is often linked to the realization that the holidays and festivities are officially over. It is time for life to go back to normal, to return back to work, and to deal with the financial damage caused by the holidays. As if that isn’t enough, the weather outside is still cold, wet and dark. That isn’t doing much to help uplift the already lingering gloominess you are feeling, either. Some people experience it as a dip they can’t get out of. Others view it as being in a constant melancholic state of mind. It often starts right after the holidays are over and the festive decorations are gone.
What are the symptoms of the January Blues?
The January Blues is a very real medical condition which often manifests itself in feeling sad and down, having low energy, and lack of motivation. Other symptoms can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling less social than usual
- Getting no pleasure from activities in general
- Lack of concentration
The symptoms appear similar to that of other conditions, such as a depression or that of the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). However, whereas these conditions generally last longer in time and are more severe, the January Blues usually goes away once January is over.
What about Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is said to be the most depressing day of the year. This generally falls on the third Monday of January. This term was coined by psychologist and life coach Cliff Arnall. The day has no scientific facts behind it. However, according to Arnall, people feel the most depressed on this day. It’s around this time that most people tend to quit their New Year’s resolutions. Add to that the fact that their low morale and the weather outside and it starts to make sense. Not to mention, many people tend to despise the Mondays in general.
How can you deal with the January Blues?
It’s pretty normal to experience feelings of despondency in the beginning of the year. However, only to a certain degree. Luckily, the January Blues and Blue Monday can be managed through simple lifestyle changes:
- Go for a walk: get out in nature, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. A little bit of vitamin D from the sun can do wonders.
- Get some exercise: exercise is especially vital during the colder months for it keeps the blood flow circulating, helps the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain which boosts the happy hormones in the body.
- Take up a new hobby: January is a perfect month to start anew and get a new hobby to keep yourself busy.
- Journal down things you are grateful for: writing down the good things happening in your life can help you deal with the emotional lull you’re currently feeling, as it helps you realize all the positives life has to offer.
- Eat healthy and get enough sleep: practicing self-care by fuelling your body with the right kinds of food and getting enough sleep are simple ways to boost one’s mood.
The January Blues often lasts for a short time and generally goes over by itself. If you find yourself still feeling down and in a constant dip, we would advise you to consult a doctor about it.
Beating the January Blues and other mood disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/janblues/
Cherry, K. (2019). An overview of the Holiday Blues. Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.verywellmind.com/holiday-blues-4771716#symptoms
Cirino, E. (2017). Understanding situational depression. Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/situational-depression
Gutske, C. (2018). Those January Blues are real. Here’s how to avoid them. Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/january-blues-are-real-how-to-avoid-them#1
Jones, E. (2018). How to know if your January Blues is something more serious. Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a14529281/january-blues-are-something-more-serious/
Kindred, A. (2019). Feeling blue? What are the January Blues, how do you know if you’re suffering from them and how do you deal with them? Retrieved on January 8, 2020 from https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8218772/what-january-blues-how-know-suffering-deal/