In the lead up to Christmas, there are a million adverts and films that tell you exactly how the festive period should be enjoyed – what you should be eating, what gifts you should be buying, when Father Christmas is meant to arrive, and how you should decorate your home.
But when the 25th is over, when Boxing Day is done, and you’re nursing a hangover on the 2nd January after the New Year’s celebrations, the only advice you can see anywhere is how to detox from all the overindulgence and how to get 50% off your first month’s gym membership.
What no one seems to address is how to manage the negative emotions that many people experience when the festive fun is over – feeling down, depressed, lacking in purpose, and with nothing to look forward to.
Here at The Therapy Room, January is often our busiest month with people seeking help to manage the come down after Christmas.
If you’re reading this blog and you’re struggling with your mental health this new year, you’re not alone and help is out there.
Strategies to manage your mental health this new year
The contrast between the lively atmosphere of Christmas and the return to everyday life can be stark, and the shift between the two can also be intensified by external factors such as colder weather, shorter days, and having to go back to work.
Understanding these emotions and implementing effective strategies to manage them is crucial and here are some techniques you can employ to help you:
The festive period often involves a lot of time spent with others and when this suddenly slows down, it can lead to feelings of loneliness. Try and stay connected with friends and family to combat these feelings of isolation and if you can, organise informal meet-ups or or even virtual gatherings to ensure you stay connected and have things to look forward to.
The winter months are often dark and gloomy and this can often have a negative impact on people’s wellbeing.
Sunlight exposure is crucial for regulating mood, and spending time outdoors, even during colder weather, can have a positive impact on your general mental health.
So consider taking short walks, enjoying winter sports, or simply taking the time to sit near a window to maximise exposure to natural light.
If suitable for your health as well, Vitamin D supplements can help during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited.
Engaging in exercise
Taking part in physical activity boosts your mood regardless of the time of year and it does that by releasing endorphins into your system.
Exercising doesn’t have to feel like an overwhelming task either – a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a visit to the gym, can all have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing.
Though everywhere you look in January is filled with diet advice, superfoods, green smoothies and get-thin-quick supplements, the truth is – healthy eating doesn’t have to involve any of these things.
Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains, can go a long way in allowing you to feel your best.
Staying hydrated also helps.
Incorporating regular meditation and breathing exercises into your day are also great ways to manage stress and calm anxiety.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
It’s usually more prevalent in winter and symptoms of SAD can include persistent feelings of sadness, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, decreased sex drive, lacking in energy, irritability, and finding yourself feeling negative emotions such as worthlessness and despair.
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day lives.
Feeling down after the Christmas period is nothing to feel ashamed about and it may help to know that many others experience similar feelings of sadness, depression and isolation.
Therapy can be a valuable resource for people experiencing these feelings as the support of a trained therapist can help you to explore and understand the root causes of your emotions and how you can work to tackle them.
Your emotions and feelings are valid and they deserve to feel seen and listened to.
Here at The Therapy Room, we believe that by giving people a non-judgemental and empathetic space where they can discuss and process their feelings, they can find ways towards better mental health – not just temporarily but permanently.
You have already taken the first step by reading this blog.
Let’s get you back to good.
Founder Jay L Pink Ad.Prof.Dip MBACP PC MNCS (ACC) established The Therapy Room to offer high quality, expert counselling and therapy services to people of all ages, as well as to couples for relationship and partner counselling and groups for corporate and family therapy. Jay’s commitment to anyone visiting The Therapy Room is to unconditionally respect values, lifestyle, background and beliefs, offering a discreet and professional service tailored to their needs.
Therapy is held either in-person at The Therapy Room in Northampton or online.