As we enter 2022, we are thinking about new beginnings and setting New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead.
However, for many people, they experience the ‘January Blues’ after an exciting Christmas and NYE celebration. Faced with cold winter weather, which can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, the pressure to fulfil resolutions, and the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused the nation to work from home again, there are many reasons why the beginning of 2022 can lead to a lull in positivity.
We spoke to education and careers expert, Richard Evans from The Profs, who outlines how to beat the January blues and avoid burnout.
Stay away from unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions
Studies have shown that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February, leading to feelings of guilt and depression. This is mainly because most New Year’s Resolutions are unrealistic, difficult to achieve or not specific enough. Focus on areas you would like to improve on in 2022 and set realistic goals with a step-by-step plan to achieve them. Spending more time with your family, cooking dinner once a week, reading a new book or sleeping for an extra hour a night are all realistic New Year’s Resolutions that can positively impact your mental health.
Increase your Vitamin D levels
During harsh winter conditions, you may find it difficult to remain active outdoors and could experience a dip in Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is vital for mental and physical health, playing a significant role in regulating moods, increasing immunity, and keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. As well as taking Vitamin D supplements, try to get outside every day, even if the temperature is cold. Even going for a brisk walk will promote the production of endorphins in the brain, increasing your overall mood. Focus on the surroundings and sunlight, which can help relieve symptoms of the January blues.
Set your schedule
After the festive period, many of us have catching up to do as we ease back into work. Due to the heightened Covid-19 restrictions, which advises us to work from home if we can, a lot of people may be struggling to adapt. It is important to prioritise your time, doing the most stressful and important tasks during the hours you are most productive in and then taking your allocated breaks. Make sure to set yourself a working hour limit, and work in a designated space away from where you spend your downtime. By setting your schedule and creating a routine, you are less likely to experience burnout and remain productive in the new year.
Focus on wellbeing
Due to Covid-19 Government guidelines, many of us are working from home. This means that when we’ve finished work, trying to switch off without a change in scenery can be difficult. Therefore, a conscious effort to practice self-care is important to feel well-rested and relaxed for the next working day. Whether it is ensuring you sleep for 8 hours a night, eating a healthier meal or taking time out to meditate and journal, self-care allows us to step away from the pressures of our changing lives and be more present in the moment. Allowing yourself to recharge will undoubtedly help to avoid burnout.
Take your holidays
With deadlines and new responsibilities emerging in the new year, you may feel as though you cannot take holiday in January – especially as many would make the argument that you just had ‘time off’. However, the Christmas period can be extremely busy, and often the holidays can fly by without giving you any real downtime to yourself. If you are struggling and need time off, book off a week to enjoy yourself – even if you don’t have anything specific planned! When you’re back at work, you will be recharged and in a more productive, positive mood.