Winter can be a challenging season for a lot of us. The decreased exposure to sunlight affects many of us in negative ways and leads to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). You might have an even harder time during January. Known as the most depressing month of the year, January brings blues and sadness that many of us find hard to overcome. Beating January Blues can be challenging, especially if you have to go back to work after the holidays. Lucky for you, there are various methods for beating January Blues that we will share in this article. 

Why do I get January Blues?

The reason why you get January Blues can be varied from person to person. However, understanding the key factors can be key to beating January Blues. 

January Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder

January Blues can be connected to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to NHS inform, we get SAD or “winter depression” during the darkest months of the year: December, January, and February. As the days get shorter during the autumn you might notice changes in your mood and habits. The depression reaches its peak during the winter. While the exact reasons behind SAD are still not conclusive, it is thought to be connected to exposure to sunlight. So, less sunlight leads to decreased stimulation of the hypothalamus. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls our mood, sleeping habits, and appetite.

Post-Holiday Blues 

December also lacks sunlight like January if not more. In fact, the longest night of the year is December 21st. So, why do we separate January Blues? While December can be quite depressing it also comes with the holiday season, the festive outlook of the December and all the holiday activities are uplifting. So, often we don’t feel the heaviness of the season as much. However, once the holiday spirit dies down, we are left with winter blues. Moreover, after the festivities, we have to go back to our routine. Even if you love your job, being back to your work can be quite difficult. The feeling of sadness and loneliness that follows the holidays is called Post-Holiday Blues. 

In January we might experience both Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Post-Holiday Blues. Naturally, this combination might lead to major struggles in everyday life. Many professionals find it hard to cope with it during this period. Hence, it is more important than ever to share information about Beating January Blues.

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5 Tips for Beating January Blues at Work

Dealing with January Blues at work can be very challenging. Often anxiety and depression lead to procrastination which then causes work-related stress. If you do not address the issue on time you might end up in a never-ending circle of stress. You certainly do not want to start your professional year like that. So, keep the following tips in mind for beating January Blues at work:

1. Create a Clear Task List

During the holidays we often lose track of out tasks at work. So, once we get back to work everything looks messier. This leads to stress and procrastination more often than we would like to admit. So, create a clear task list. Keep in mind that the order of the tasks is crucial. Start with listing the easiest tasks and gradually move on to more complicated ones. Even if you have an urgent task, find some time to complete a simpler task at first. If you start with an easy task, you will get a sense of accomplishment which will motivate you to stick to your plan. Also, remember to include breaks in your schedule. Your mind and body are not used to the work schedule anymore so you should give yourself more time to relax and recharge. 

2. Reorganize Workspace

No matter where you work home, office, or shared workspace, you should feel comfortable. Clutter and mess around your working area can negatively affect your mood. So, cleaning up your table, and getting rid of unnecessary items can be a good strategy for beating January Blues at work. Even a little clean-up will give you a sense that there is something new and exciting. Furthermore, it prepares you emotionally to start working. 

Reorganizing your workspace does not necessarily mean just organizing it. You could rearrange your items, add new things and try to refresh the space. One of the best ways to shift your mind to something positive could be adding a small plant to your desk. Remember, when we are dealing with seasonal mood disorder and January Blues it is important to shift our minds toward positive things and appreciate what we have. 

3. Get Sunlight

As mentioned above, SAD is thought to be linked to decreased sunlight exposure. Therefore, it is important to enjoy as much light as possible. If you work from home, then try to work nearby your window. Even when the days are cloudy, the natural light we get can be extremely helpful against January Blues. If you work remotely, you could try working from different spaces where you can be exposed to the sunlight. One of the best ways to get sunlight is to take an afternoon walk. This can give you necessary break from your work and cheer you up. Don’t forget your sunscreen though. 

4. Spend some time with your Work Bestie

Company of family and friends is one of the best tips advised by NHS. Communicating with loved ones is a great way to keep yourself positive and cope with post-holiday blues. You could try having a quick chat with your friend, partner, or family member during the break. Moreover, you could plan to spend more time with your work bestie. That person already understands your situation at work so their empathy can be invaluable. 

Often SAD tends to isolate us from our loved ones. We feel too exhausted to communicate with people and tend to forget all the benefits other people bring into our lives. So, making it a habit to have a conversation with people you love can be one of the best ways for beating January Blues. 

5. Keep Active

Sometimes the best way to cope with anxiety and depression is to shift our energy toward things that bring us joy. Moreover, if you are busy, you might have less time to think about the stress and depression you experience. Remember, thoughts can influence everything in our lives so if you don’t have time to dwell on negative things they might just go away. Of course, this is not the approach you want to take for dealing with a mental disorder. But it can be very effective when we are talking about seasonal depression. Exercising, taking daily walks, and eating healthy can be one of the best ways to keep active and beat January Blues at work. 

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