How to beat the New Year blues

It’s all over now, baby blue.’   > Bob Dylan was referring to the end of a love affair in that song. But it equally applies to all of us who have crashed into a bleak New Year after the recent festivities. The next hype is not until St  Valentine’s Day and Easter, though advertisers would have you believe that everyone is already buying summer holidays (don’t worry – it is myth).

But either way the fun is over. Your money is spent, you are running scared of catching your friends vomiting bugs and your New Year’s resolution is already a distant memory (probably because you failed to read our earlier Postings). Oh yes, post-Christmas also is a peak time for the Samaritans, marriage guidance, weight loss counsellors and coffee consumption.

So it is a case of I owe, I owe, so back to work I go to face inboxes and email directories filled with two weeks’ worth of unread mail (any mail headed ‘redundancies’ should be deleted unread).

This perfect storm of misery even has a name  – acute post-bank holiday depression syndrome. As one researcher put it, “Having the January blues is nothing to be ashamed of. Trying to crank yourself up for work after a holiday is hard. People were working long hours in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and they really did need a break. So itis no surprise that they feel miserable when that break comes to an end.”

Fortunately there are plenty of DIY tricks worth trying to boost your energy, mental health and overall outlook on life. For starters, dress brightly. Everything is so dull outside that it will make people happy to see someone wearing bright colours. And, if you are with others, talk them! Be with people and smile and smile some more.* Be outrageously upbeat, as at this time of year you don’t want to add to the aura of negativity (Brexit is a no-go subject!)

Next, assess the damage festive shopping did to your bank account and establish a new savings plan. Regaining a sense of financial control can boost your mental health and alleviate stress.

Then, if you found you gained a few pounds over the holidays, embrace January as the time to lose them. No need to add to your financial woes by joining a health club, simply get out and walk in the fresh air. It is currently free! Or how about something more unusual, such as campanology therapy (or call it tintinnabulation therapy to really impress your friends).

Having done that, then there is no harm day dreaming about your next holiday in the sun. Don’t book it – just surrounding yourself with holiday brochures that help you daydream.

You could even start a fantasy diary to compete with Bridget Jones . Make sure you write in times for your pottery or art classes.

And don’t forget music will stimulate your senses and lift your spirits. As neuro-scientist Daniel J. Levitin wrote in his book ‘This Is Your Brain on Music’ ….  ‘music enhances certain pathways in the brain that are essential to cognitive and emotional health. Music is not just an incidental amusement for humankind‘.

But best of all, a simple phone call to Tonic will give you all the morale boosts you will ever need to see you through your New Year depression. Happy New Year.

Footnote  > In case it makes you feel more human, a fear of the New Year is called neoannophobia.  * And there is nothing wrong in craving company. If your friends think you are odd just tell them you are an autophobiac. Also called monophobia, isolophobia, and eremophobia, this is a dread of being alone or isolated. So at least you can start 2019 with an impressive sounding new phobia!

6 thoughts on “How to beat the New Year blues

  1. Theo Manning (therapist) says:

    If you want to get through the blues, the most important thing is to make plans for the coming months. Organise something you can look forward to, be creative: watch a movie; listen to music; go for a run. The sun might not be shining – and the lack of sunlight is one factor that’s making us feel sad – but get outside and you feel so much better.

  2. Holly (worst name ever for a summer gal)! says:

    I love my job but I know I will arrive back at my desk on Monday after the long break bleary-eyed, not wanting to be there with a thick fog where my brain should be. It is really really hard to get up in the cold dark mornings and my body clock needs re-setting after 2 weeks of late nights and even later mornings. And yet I can return after a summer break with no ill effects and firing on all cylinders, so I think I was just made to hibernate in winter time.

  3. a misery guts says:

    It is soooo easy to be depressed here on the west coast of Scotland. Yesterday we had virtually no daylight all day, plus fog later. It’s like living underground and it’s not unusual to see houses with all the lights on at 10 in the morning. And then the rain, rain rain and more rain. I don’t think even Tonic could lift my spirits at present.

    • Roll on summer Mr Misery! As for me I would feel better about life, the universe etc., if we had more blue skies! It’s the fifty shades of grey – never an attractive colour – that’s so lowering to the spirit. Plus the incessant rain …. Yuk!

  4. Judy Tanner says:

    Try simplifying your schedule and approaching with a fresh anticipation of what’s to come. Rather than focusing on creating a set of resolutions or goals, choose one thing that you’d like to do differently or change about your life. In other words – start small !

  5. Tessa Hall (marriage guidance counsellor) says:

    Sadly you are right about January being a bad time for marriages. By January we have low energy and we are frazzled and tired; consequently, a lot of couples who were having problems at the end of last year tend to break up. In fact, 60% of relationships end in January with more partners arguing this month than during any other. With short days and miserable weather, we spend an average of 20% more time cooped up indoors than we do in the summer – resulting in irritability and short tempers.

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