January is thought by many to be the saddest month of the year and it’s easy to see why: the bills are in, it’s cold and dark outside and for many of us, those New Year resolutions are already broken. The January Blues have always been a thing and long before any pandemic stole the show. If you are feeling low, the first thing you should know is you are not alone. It may not feel like it when you’re feeling down, but there are things you can do and changes you can make to help you feel better. Here’s how to survive January, in the Jan de Vries way:
Light therapy for low mood
A lack of sunlight can affect our levels of serotonin, the hormone responsible for our sense of wellbeing, and melatonin, which is responsible for normal sleeping patterns. For most, seasonal blues pass relatively quickly but for some they develop into a mild depressive condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is mostly triggered by a lack of sunlight during the darker months. It might be cold outside but wrap up warm and brave the elements as soon as the sun rises. If you can’t go out, sit near a window instead. Light therapy (to mimic summer daylight) can also help.
Exercise for mental health
Better still, make early morning exercise part of your daily routine. Any exercise is good for mental health, it releases the ‘feel good’ endorphins that make us happy, but exercising early in the morning can help to lift your mood for the rest of the day.
Eat to beat low mood
What we eat can make a huge difference to how we feel. Mood-friendly foods include fish, turkey, chicken, beans, avocados, bananas, protein and wheatgerm as they help the body to produce more serotonin. Whole grains, seasonal vegetables and fresh fruit will give you a welcome boost of energy, and foods rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, such as fish and seeds, can help to support general brain health.
Vitamin D and low mood
Certain nutrients can also help. Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘
sunshine vitamin’ because it is naturally
produced in the body when exposed to the sun’s rays. Deficiency during the
darker months is extremely common in the
Herbal remedies for low mood
Herbal remedies can also help. For feelings of sluggishness, slight low mood or mild anxiety there’s St. John’s Wort or Hypericum. Scientists believe it works by prolonging the action of serotonin and by increasing levels of melatonin. A. Vogel Hyperiforce tablets can help with low mood or mild anxiety, but bear in mind that Hypericum can take up to six weeks for best results, and it can interact with other medications and affect the way they work, so isn’t suitable for everyone. Check with your GP first if on prescribed medicines.
If Hypericum is not for you, Passiflora, which has been used for centuries as a mild sedative and to help prolong sleep time, can also help alleviate mild anxiety.
You could also try Jan de Vries Mood Essence, a combination of flower essences that may give support when it is difficult to stay positive. Taken regularly it aims to uplift and bring back an optimistic and enthusiastic outlook.