Start the year positive says BSDHT

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BSDHT President Julie Deverick says: “Beat the January blues

January is a month that can feel a little depressing. Christmas is over, the weather is bad, and these negative feelings can quickly seep into a work environment if you don’t take measures to stop them. However, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself, and your colleagues motivated for a brighter, happier January.

When looking at the evidence it does seem that January blues can be difficult to beat. Blue Monday (the day of the year people are most likely to feel depressed) is in January, death rates are typically higher at the beginning of the year [1], and certain stories that suggest that suicide rates are much higher too [2] (though this isn’t actually the case) [3].

It’s too easy to paint such a dreary picture of the month as a whole, it’s understandable that many people may feel glum about January coming around, but a change in attitude can quickly turn this around.

Resolutions you can stick to

It’s estimated that around 80% of us fail to keep our New Year resolutions. Not only do we have the tendency to want to see instant results from changes in our bad behaviours, but we also have a habit of setting ourselves unattainable goals [4].

One way of sticking to resolutions is to take a more measured approach. Are you aiming to exercise more? It’s better to gradually implement this change, taking steps like visiting the gym once a week and then working upwards from there. This gives you a chance to adapt to alterations in your lifestyle, and research has proven that changing behaviour this way results in habits sticking for a longer period of time [5].

It’s also important to set specific goals. Rather than vaguely claiming that you want to lose weight, say that you want to lose two stone before the 1st of July. This makes it easier to measure your goal and also gives you a strict time limit in which to achieve your vision, which may encourage you to work harder to meet it.

Something to celebrate

It’s also worth remembering that January still has a number of fun national days that you can celebrate in the practice. Perhaps you can all experience a bit of indulgence today by treating your sweet tooth on National Strawberry Ice Cream Day (January 15th) or perhaps you can organise some fun lunchtime activities for your team on National Have Fun At Work Day (January 28th)?

By setting small things to look forward to you can help abolish the dreary mood of January and motivate colleagues to see things on the brighter side. Plus, by motivating yourself to stick to any resolutions, and giving yourself something to look forward to, you can remain cheerful at both work and at home, helping spread cheer instead of the January blues.

For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk,
call 01788 575050 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

References:

1] CBS. More Deaths In Winter. Link: https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2018/07/more-deaths-in-winter [Last accessed October 18].

2] STAT News. Christmas Suicide Surge is a Myth, But What About the January Rebound? Link: https://www.statnews.com/2015/12/30/suicides-rise-after-christmas/ [Last accessed October 18].

3] Centre for Suicide Prevention. Debunking Blue Monday. Link: https://www.suicideinfo.ca/debunking-blue-monday/ [Last accessed October 18].

4] Lifehack.org. 10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail. Link: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-new-years-resolutions-fail.html [Last accessed October 18].

5] Middleton, K., Anton, S., Perri, M. Long-Term Adherence to Health Behaviour Change. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2013; 7(6): 395–404.

Photo by Dylan Gialanella on Unsplash