Let’s face it – the next couple of days, weeks in fact, can be a complete and utter slog.
Self care has never been more important than right now. Without the charms of the festive season to take the edge off the shorter days and cold weather, January can feel rather bleak. Especially with the added pressure of “new year, new you” the comes with every new calendar year.
According to The Samaritans and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 20% of people experience depression during the month of January, in comparison to 4.5% of people who experience depression in the UK at any other time.
While medical help and longer-term mental health coping mechanisms such as therapy and medication can be used to tackle chronic low mood, there are other ways to treat yourself if you’re feeling not so great right now.
Here are a few must-try suggestions.
Try out this “color breathing” meditation technique
According to Healthline, this little hack can help with “stress relief and general mood improvement”.
Visualize an emotion or “positive vibe” that you want to feel. Then assign a color to it, preferably one that you like and find soothing.
Find a comfortable place and position.
Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply, picturing the chosen color in your mind.
Let what that color represents for you fill your mind.
As you inhale, imagine the color washing over your entire body and filling it up, including your fingertips and toes.
When you exhale, bring forth any unwanted emotions and imagine them draining from your body, replacing it with your chosen color.
Try to do this for a minute or two.
This can be used as part of a wider meditation routine, or on its own.
Find foods that are rich in Vitamin B12
If you are deficient in Vitamin B12, you can experience the following: irritability, changes in personality, depression, and memory loss.
Stock up on tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese, tofu and low-fat yoghurt and use them in your staple meals to ensure you are getting enough of this all-important vitamin.
Also, caffeine is known to boost the absorption of vitamin B12, so don’t feel guilty about an extra cup of joe every now and then.
Take time to really treat your skin
The colder months can be super harsh on our skin – this can be due to a drop in the moisture in the air and the increased use of central heating (energy crisis dependent).
You know your skin (and your skin type) best, so do whatever you know will nourish it during these difficult months.
We recommend a fun DIY oatmeal face mask, or apply argan or avocado oil every night to give your skin the extra love it deserves.
Introduce lavender into your “winding down” routine
It smells amazing, sure, but lavender also has some legitimate credentials for helping you sleep. It’s an anxiolytic (an anxiety reliever) as well as a natural sedative.
Getting enough sleep is imperative to your own self care, keeping your mood level and your body and mind feeling able to deal with the challenges that come with this month.
So, squeeze a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow at night or in your bath water of an evening, or burn a candle with lavender essential oils. You won’t regret it.
Journal your negative thoughts
Taking the time to write down your low thoughts so that you can make sense of them has been proven by research as an effective way to make sense of them.
It can help you to “prioritize problems, fears, and concerns”, as well as providing a place for you to express positive self-talk and recognise what might be triggering cycles of negative thoughts.
Originally published in Glamourmagazine.co.uk