The poets say April is the cruellest month, however to me it is January and February, when our january blues are likely to be at our highest. We’ve had all the fun and glitter of Christmas followed by the hope and commitments of New Year’s Day. Then January seems to drag on for grey week after grey week and payday is a distant hope. So what can we do to be healthy and motivated during January, and then February, which is mercifully short!
It is a good idea to ensure you are getting the vitamins you need and not resorting to junk food to boost your mood. As the days are short and dark, we will be lacking in Vitamin D. The foods to eat are eggs, oily fish such as salmon, herring which also help with strengthening the immune system and the fish will help you with your levels of brain boosting Omega 3.
By eating more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables, you are helping your system with slow release energy rather than the quick pick-me-up of highly sweetened foods. So think about cooking a vegetable stew with grains such as pearl barley, or a risotto. Make yourself some healthy thick soups, that are super healthy when homemade which can be batch frozen and taken to work for lunch. These are all great for using up leftovers too!
Keeping active is a great way to keep positive and get through the January blues. If you’re not a gym-bunny try and walk every day – get off the bus a stop earlier, walk round the block a few times at lunch time to get 20-30 minutes of light. There are some great initiatives out there to keep you focused. MIND the mental health charity organise the RED for January initiative. RED stands for Run Every Day, however it’s just about taking exercise of some sort every day, so walking a mile, swimming, getting the bike out. There is an online community to offer encouragement and support.
Finally, treat yourself occasionally as trying to stick rigidly to a goal can be draining in itself, and quite boring! For example once you’ve achieved a goal such as walking a mile every day for a week, treat yourself and then try and walk 2 miles every day for the next week. The sense of achievement will give you a boost. So treat yourself to a cake or extra glass of wine. January blues may come every year, but its about being prepared and planning activities to manage your January blues.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.