Do you have the Winter Blues?
The festivities are over, the decorations have been put away for another year and we've had a little New Year Clean up.
I'm sure it's the same in many households, the same rituals, the same feelings of relief that we can finally get back to some form of normal routine!
But I've been hearing and seeing some patterns these last few days. People are feeling a bit flat and a bit low.
I've been asking myself why what is it about this time of the year that gets people feeling sad?
Is it simply the weather? Pretty cold, very grey, usually wet and increasingly windy? Or is it the prospect of those 12 months looming ahead and no real idea of which direction we should be going in? It might even be the problems that weren't resolved last year which still need to be dealt with.
Personally, I'm not much of a winter fan but that's more about the weather. I do like getting all cozy, closing the curtains, lighting candles or the fire and drinking warm cups of coffee. I don't like the windy, grey days that never seem to brighten up and snow...no, thank you!
People can often be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an increasing condition that is said to be linked to the reduced number of daylight hours, leading people to feel a form of depression right up until spring.
Whilst the disorder isn't greatly understood, it can cause low mood, sometimes weight gain and the need for more sleep. Treatments can be the use of a lightbox to bring melatonin levels back to normal or the use of Melatonin tablets. (If you think you may suffer from SAD, please as always consult your GP)
What about those that struggle with the prospect of yet another challenging year? When all looks a little bleak and downright tough?
Life isn't all roses that's for sure and there is bound to be something that happens to throw us off course. It might be illness, family problems, financial worries. Maybe balancing everything in life seems really daunting and keeping all those plates up high is getting harder and harder?
Starting out with this kind of burden is almost certainly going to make us feel blue, and then the weather on top of it all! It doesn't always look great at the start of the year. I know we don't all have exciting, sparkling opportunities to set our sights on and seeing things in a positive way can be a real struggle.
So what can we do to make sure we feel good through the darker, longer months?
Well, I'm afraid we can't do much about the weather other than keeping layered up when it's cold and get as much fresh air as possible even if you just step outside the door for a breather when you can.
One thing that I would like us all to do though is just stop with the self-criticism. We are all guilty of telling ourselves we are not enough... in some shape or form.
Yes there might be real, significant issues that have to be dealt with but you don't have to face it alone, nor have those negative, destructive conversations with yourself.
If you are starting the year feeling blue because life is hard (and it is hard) maybe a little strategy could help?
Go and grab a big sheet of paper. Sit down in a quiet place and write out all of the things that are troubling you, even the Great British weather!
Having a goal, a target or an outcome can be really useful when feeling totally overwhelmed.
For some, writing a list might be enough to spur on some positive actions.
For others, it might be a start of something so overwhelming it brings about more feelings of sadness.
Those of you that are excited, geared up and ready to take on the world, go for it with positive abandon!
Those of you still sat under a blanket fort, waiting for Spring to hurry up, don't feel blue. I've got your back. Check in with me today and let me know you are there. I can join you in your fort and help you lift the corners to see what's going on. I can listen as you tell me all the things that are bothering you and I can keep you in a safe space while you figure out the way forward.
Located in Radcliffe, near Bury, Healthful Hands is ideally located to provide personal health and nutritional coaching and support in the following areas: Ainsworth, Bolton, Blackburn, Bury, Chorley, Farnworth, Haslingden, Heywood, Little Lever, Manchester, Prestwich, Radcliffe, Salford, Swinton, Westhoughton, Whitefield, and throughout Greater Manchester, Lancashire and the North West of England.