Battling the January Blues: Strategies for Beating the Post-Christmas Slump

The word SAD in blue written on concrete

Written by NRPC Editorial

January 9, 2024

The word SAD in blue written on concrete

Is the ‘January Blues’ something you go through every year?

As the festive season fades away and the new year begins, many people find themselves grappling with what is commonly referred to as the “January blues.” This phenomenon is characterised by a sense of low energy, decreased motivation, and an overall feeling of melancholy that often follows the excitement and joy of seasonal holidays. While it’s a widespread experience, reported throughout the media and beyond, understanding the January blues and adopting strategies to overcome them can make the transition into the new year smoother and more positive!

The Post-Holiday Letdown
After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, January can feel like a letdown. The return to routine and the absence of festive decorations and celebrations may contribute to a sense of emptiness. But how about planning little goals for the new year. We aren’t talking New Year’s Resolutions, but simple things to look forward to in the coming months. 

Weather and Seasonal Changes
In many parts of the world, January brings cold weather, shorter days, and less sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to changes in seasons, can exacerbate the January blues.
Think about getting a daylight lamp, or an alarm clock with a sunrise feature. Many people report feeling better when they use artificial light in order to beat those winter blues! 

Financial Stress
The holiday season often involves increased spending on gifts, travel, and festivities. As January rolls in, financial stress may set in as people grapple with post-holiday bills and expenses. Ease financial stress by creating a realistic budget and finding simple ways to save money. Considering alternative, cost-effective activities for entertainment and prioritising needs over wants can help at this time.

New Year’s Resolutions Pressure 
The pressure to set and achieve ambitious New Year’s resolutions can create anxiety and disappointment if goals aren’t met promptly. So instead of setting lofty resolutions, consider establishing small, achievable goals. Break down larger objectives into manageable steps, allowing for a better sense of accomplishment without overwhelming yourself.

A hand holding a sign that reads Life is your creation

Other tips for the start of the year
Embrace the winter period by planning outdoor activities. Walking in the cold weather can help to increase your spirits. 
Stay social. Combatting social isolation is important when the winter comes, so plan social activities, whether in-person or virtual, to maintain a sense of community and support.
Prioritise your own self-care. After the seasonal period you may feel fatigued due to excess food and drink. Ensure you are looking after both your physical health by eating good nutritious food and ensure you are getting enough sleep. 
Reflect on the good parts of the year before. Creating a journal can help you to look at what you are grateful for in your here and now, but also jot down what made you happiest in the previous year. It’s a great way to remind yourself of all of the good things about your life, and plan a happy year ahead! 

While the January blues may be a common experience, they don’t have to dictate the tone of your entire month. By understanding the potential causes and implementing practical strategies, you can navigate the post-holiday period with resilience and a positive mindset. Remember, it’s okay to take things one step at a time, and self-compassion is key in overcoming the challenges that January may feel like it brings.

Pink and Blue coloured journals with two pencils

If you’d like to talk to someone about the way you are feeling there are therapists on both and who may be able to help. 

Emma Evans

Published : Jan 9, 2024