“January blues” is a social term used to denote the period after the festive seasons and the decline in mood; and in January, there is a day referred to as “Blue Monday”.
Although both terms describe the decline in mood in January, there is no scientific basis around this particular day or month (Mind, 2016). However, certain factors may likely cause a decline in low mood during this period. For instance, factors such as:
- A reduction in daylight hours. Some individuals during this time may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Financial worries (financial strain following Christmas). Read more about finding financial wellbeing support.
- Returning to work after a long break.
- Lack of motivation to complete New Year Resolutions set. For further support about keeping on track with your New Year Resolutions read more on Goal setting and Pacing.
- Drinking and eating habits over the holiday period may result in feeling sluggish or gaining weight. Read more on building a healthy lifestyle after the holiday season.
"January blues" or depression
Similarly to depression, January blues can manifest with symptoms of low mood, sadness, lack of energy and motivation, anxiety and low libido.
However, the difference between January blues and depression is that January blues tend to last a few weeks maximum because of factors mentioned above. Some people find that establishing their routines post-holiday season lifts their mood.
As mentioned previously, there is no scientific basis for the January blues. Therefore, periods of low mood and depression can affect anyone at any time; as individual circumstances can affect emotional wellbeing at different times of the year.
In the UK, one in five adults aged 16 and above have experienced a form of depression (indicated by moderate to severe depressive symptoms) (ONS, 2021). Also, in the workplace, “1 in 6 workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time”. (McManus, Bebbington, Jenkins and Brugha, 2016).
These statistics demonstrate that depression is a serious condition and can affect people at any time of the year and day. Further information on depression
What can help to overcome it?
Whether you are experiencing January Blues or depression, a helpful treatment for both is to discuss how you are feeling with others. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, contact us:
As the temperature drops and it gets darker sooner, it can be challenging to maintain a regular exercise routine. But exercise has been proven to be beneficial for physical and mental health; for instance, it can reduce negative mood, anxiety and depression (Ohrnberger, Fichrera and Sutton., 2017).
- Join a nationwide community to ‘get active every day to beat the blues away'. Redtogether is an organisation that provides free events for all fitness abilities. Find different fitness activities during Red January.
- Natural light and time spent in nature provide exposure to sunlight that can help boost your mood. Therefore, spending some time outside walking or cycling can help to boost your mood. Also, if you are working from home, working near a window and opening your curtains may help with your mood. Here are deskercises by Allied Health Professionals Suffolk that can help you stay active.
- Here are some ways to be active during the winter period.
Mindfulness can help us move from autopilot and become more aware of our present moments. It has been proven effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
Self-care is the unique act of looking after yourself. For some individuals, it means making time to complete the activities they enjoy. For others, it may look like improving your sleeping or eating habits. Watch this video by Headspace which provides small ways to practice self-care in a difficult time.
or watch this mini-mediation also by Headspace for ways to start practicing self-care.
Although this time of year may be challenging for various reasons, you may find it helpful to look back on positive memories through photographs or conversations with loved ones.
Also, the practice of gratitude can help improve mood, make you more optimistic and improve your social interactions. Watch this video below on gratitude and how to practice it.