Don’t sing the January blues

It’s that time of year again when we all have to accept that Christmas is most definitely over. All that’s left of the holiday season is a couple of suspicious looking oranges, some stale fruit cake and a case of severe indigestion. That optimism and excitement that we felt for a few minutes on New Year’s Eve turned out to be the result of a drunken haze which was very quickly replaced with a sense of dread. Long since forgotten are those resolutions we made on New Year’s Day as we nursed our sore heads and bloated stomachs. Exams have been sat, essays have been handed in, and now we face the agonising wait to see just how much more work we should have done over the holidays. To top it all off the weather is consistently miserable and there appears to be no end in sight.

In all honesty, it’s hard not to feel slightly blue at this time of the year. With so little to tempt us into the outside world, hiding under the duvet with the curtains closed can seem like a desirable option. Try and remember that there are a few things that can help towards improving your mood:

1) Read a book for pleasure, not just for coursework. Take time to get lost in a fictional world.

2) Take some exercise. The university’s athletic union has a lot of great societies that usually let you join after Christmas, so think about trying something new.

3) Catch up with friends that you’ve not seen since last term. Between going home for Christmas and slaving over assessments, you’ve probably not had much time together. Enjoy it.

4) Don’t feel guilty about resolutions that you didn’t end up sticking to. Instead make yourself a more realistic set of goals about what you want to have achieved by the end of the year.

5) Stock up the fridge with healthy food. The Mental Health Foundation suggests eating plenty of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel (walnuts are a good alternative for vegetarians) can help us feel better because omega-3 fatty acids contribute to combating lethargy and low moods. There is a correlation between food and mood so be sure to Google it and see what you find.

6) Make a list of fun things you can do when you’re feeling bored, like a stroll around Bute Park or a visit to the museum. This means you always have something to look forward to.

7) Get a good night’s sleep, after all those late nights cramming to meet deadlines.

You are not alone in feeling this way. All of us face this seasonal slump together, so don’t punish yourself when you’re feeling low. Talk to your family or friends about how you’re feeling, they’re most likely experiencing the same thing and remember to ask for help if you think you need it. Wishing you all a great term.

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