By Megan Cooksley, 2nd Year Textile Design NTU Student
Trust me, as someone with a birthday in January it really isn’t the best month of the year. With Christmas and New Year’s over and the weather getting increasingly more freezing, it’s hard to gather the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. There is also the strenuous pressure to uphold several probably ridiculous resolutions that in the majority of cases aren’t needed!
Like it or not January is one twelfth of everyone’s year (and life for that matter) and we should all start figuring out ways to combat these winter blues that don’t involve getting frustrated over absolutely everything. With last year’s January blues probably the worst they’ve ever been because of the lockdown, it almost seems that we should really put a plan in place to get the most out of the first couple of months of 2022 rather than just staying in bed and avoiding all social interaction.
So here are some things that I have done that have got me through January that I’ll be using throughout the rest of the Winter months too!
As silly as this may sound, it is a known fact that practising deep breathing can boost your serotonin levels. When you take deep breaths, it quickens your heart rate slightly and when exhaled slows it back down again, continuing to do this several times in a row triggers the brain to release feel good hormones like serotonin and dopamine which collectively have a natural calming effect on the brain and body. This can be done numerous times through a busy or stressful day where you might be struggling to carry on with the simpler tasks.
Acknowledging the great outdoors.
I know from experience that when you really just aren’t feeling yourself the only thing that can seem appealing is laying in bed all day with the curtains closed. Not only does this increase fatigue but it in general never actually makes your mood any better, by going on even a small 10-minute walk this is proven to increase positive and happy thoughts as well as alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression! Even by just opening the curtains and cracking open a window to let the sunshine and fresh air in can help take away some stressful elements.
Make sure to continue expressing gratitude.
At times when you begin to feel low it’s hard to shift your brain away from those negative thoughts, but gratitude can become a powerful habit! Taking the time either when you first wake up or when you’re about to go to sleep to write down, ideally by hand, five things that you feel grateful for can help with a positive outlook to carry throughout your day. This can also have a very positive effect on others as when you are happy its infectious and could help someone who you may not even know to be struggling. Remember a smile can go a long way!
With the days being short, its crucial to remember the importance of light exercise. By returning to work specifically from home through these times can leave you feeling rather weak and lethargic which contributes towards a lower mood. Finding the time to even do a light amount of exercise can help release stress and put you in a way better mood.
Seek professional help
Sometimes even after trying your hardest with some of these methods things can become overwhelming and start to spiral, this is when it becomes important to share how you are feeling with somebody that can support and help you.
Everyone can find themselves a little lost at times but just remember to celebrate the little things and be kind to yourself not just at the beginning of the new year but for the rest of it!
For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Self-Care books in NTU’s libraries
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness