Tips to beat the January blues
January can make even the most energetic of us feel down in the dumps. Cold, dreary weather, lack of sleep and too much food and drink leave us feeling sluggish and overweight. There are several tips to help you feel better and brighter than ever this winter.
Tip one: Lie flat on the floor with your legs raised
According to health expert Fiona Slatter, simply lying on the floor with your legs slightly raised can help boost energy levels because it calms the body and opens up your energy channels.
Based on the Chinese principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this exercise relaxes the lower and upper back which, in turn, opens the stomach meridian or energy channel. “The best time to do this simple exercise is when you wake up because this is when your body is stiff and in need of energizing,” she says.
How to do the exercise?
After waking up — and before you have a drink or shower — find a spot on the floor just in front of a chair or wall. Lie down on the floor placing your bottom about ten inches away from the chair or wall – enough room to allow you to rest your legs against your support. Your legs can be slightly bent, or at right angles to the wall or chair.
Now, place your hands under your head or alongside your body and close your eyes. Try to relax for around five minutes, without falling asleep. Practice for five minutes whenever you feel tired or sluggish to restore your energy levels.
Tip two: Plan a holiday
Research shows that going on holiday is key to creating happiness. The survey found that out of 1,000 people interviewed, almost three quarters of those questioned said going on holiday made them feel happy.
“A holiday gives you the time and space to do the things that make you happy,” says Carol Rothwell, a chartered occupational psychologist who was also involved in a survey carried out by Thomson Holidays.
Psychologists believe that even looking forward to your holiday can do you the power of good. This is because the anticipation of a holiday can make you feel excited by releasing endorphins, your bodies’ natural feel-good hormones.
Tip three: Ask yourself what’s making you feel down in the dumps
New Year is often a time for self-reflection which can spiral into the January blues. But don’t panic, says Carole Gaskell, author of Transform Your Life. Asking yourself a few simple questions can help you resolve your problems. “Being low in January is very common,” she says. “But rather than pushing your feelings to one side, allow yourself to acknowledge them so you can resolve them,” she says.
One way of doing this is to fill in the Wheel of Life, a simple exercise often used by life coaches to help people find out exactly what is making them unhappy.
The idea is to draw a wheel with eight spokes. Each spoke should represent eight areas of your life. These include:
• Your health
• Your money
• Your social life (including fun and recreation)
• Your partner/relationship
• Your work/career
• Your friends/family
• Your physical environment such as your home
• Your personal growth/spirituality.
This could include your religion, interests, hobbies, for example.
Now, for each area of your life represented by a spoke, give it a score out of 10. Where you score below five, take that area and try to focus on it. “If your job or career is pulling you down, try to find ways to improve your situation,” says Carole. “It could be speaking to your boss about a big workload, or arranging a pay rise, for example.” Or perhaps it’s something as simple as making time to tidy your desk so you feel more in control.
If your relationship is an area that needs improving, arrange to sit down with your partner and talk to them. This may involve asking them to help you look after the children or do the washing up. If you are single and want to find a partner, perhaps it might mean joining a new social club or taking up an evening class to meet more people.
The best way of ensuring you improve your situation, says Carole, is to set yourself a goal. “This will trigger you into action and make you do something about your new challenge, rather than just forgetting about it. Tell yourself you want to double your score for that particular area of your life by the summer – or by the end of the year,” she suggests.
For more information, contact me at the Harlan County Extension Service at 606-573-4464.
Raymond Cox is the county extension agent for 4-H/youth development. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.