COLD, dreary weather, lack of sleep and too much food combine to give many of us the January blues!
So how was yesterday for you?
The third Monday in January is regarded as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.
The day has long been dubbed Blue Monday – with many of us cash-strapped after the shopping excesses of Christmas, overweight and demotivated.
Sarah Jane Robinson, a principal psychology lecturer at the University of Huddersfield explains: “January is considered the most depressing month for a number of reasons.
“People romanticise about the Christmas period and for many it does not live up to expectations.
“It is also around this time credit card bills are arriving and New Year’s resolutions may not have been upheld which can lead to frustrations.
She added: “This year could be worse than others as people face an uncertain future about their jobs.
“There is a real worry as people don’t know what they can plan for and even what they can afford next Christmas.”
But NHS bosses say a key weapon against the winter slump is physical exercise, which is known to lift the mood and make us happy as it increases the levels of feel-good endorphins in the body.
Paul Johnstone, director of public health at NHS North of England, said: “Exercise is a great way of boosting your mood during the dark winter months.
“Physical exercise has been proven to combat depression, and when it comes to getting active, it really is true that every little helps.
“Ideally people should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, but you don’t have to do it all in one go. Short bursts of activity throughout the day still count, and all add up to the total amount.
“It’s easier than you think to get some exercise. You could try building it into your daily routine by walking part of the way to work, or getting down to some early spring cleaning. Anything that gets your heart rate up counts.”
Tips to getting active everyday:
Take things slowly: gentle exercise like gardening is a good place to start
Try taking a walk at lunchtime
Low-impact exercise is great for pregnant women, the elderly, overweight or those prone to joint problems like arthritis. Try yoga, stretching and Pilates.
Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off the bus one stop before your final destination
Housework is a good workout. The most demanding activities include vacuuming, mopping, changing the bed linen, cleaning the windows, and scrubbing the bath and oven
Take the kids to the park or swimming pool – and make sure that you join in
Get a pedometer to measure the number of steps you take each day, and try to increase this amount steadily