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  • Writer's pictureScotti McLaren

Beat the Winter Blues: Reclaiming Blue Monday

It's that time of the year again – Blue Monday. It’s often labelled as the most challenging day of the year. The excitement of the holidays has faded, and the long stretch of winter still lies ahead. It can feel like a recipe for low mood, colds & flu & Covid, feeling tired & unmotivated … UGH !

But this dreaded day can also be used as an opportunity to recommit to healthy habits.

Today can be a moment to refocus, rejuvenate and get our mojo on for the winter months. By taking some healthy, sustainable steps, we can transform this day into a catalyst for wellbeing and vitality.

Here are Ten Tips on how to reframe & reclaim Blue Monday.

  1. Early morning sunlight: Starting your day with a dose of natural sunlight can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and uplift your mood. Try taking a morning walk or having your coffee or tea in the sun - or under the clouds.

  2. Don't forget vitamin D: Unless you live near the equator, you’re not getting ANY from the sun these days – even when it’s sunny. Vit D is essential for mood regulation and immune function. Consider supplementing in the winter months and get tested annually.

  3. Stay hydrated: Cold air tends to be dry and dehydrating. And even mild dehydration can affect cognition, mood, energy and sleep. Aim for two litres of water per day. And as a bonus: Herbal teas, like chamomile or lavender, can be calming and promote sleep.

  4. Eat real food: Ultra processed foods aren’t food – they’re like putting water in the car, it’s just not going to work. Focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods to give your body and brain the fuel they need. If there’s one habit that can be a revolution for our physical and mental health, this is it.

  5. Break up with sugar: While sugar can provide a temporary boost in mood, it typically leads to a crash in mood and energy. Sugar addiction is a thing and it can be broken. (Ask me how!)

  6. Omega-3s: Found in oily fish, and in lower amounts in flaxseeds and walnuts, are great for brain health and mood, the immune system and for lowering inflammation. Go for SMASH: Salmon (wild), Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines and Herring.

  7. Jump into Dry January: While alcohol can seem like a good way to unwind, it is a false friend of the brain. (The body already knows well that it’s a foe.) Moderation or even short-term abstinence can lead to clearer thinking, better sleep and improved mood stability. It's never too late to recommit to a healthy relationship with alcohol.

  8. Commit to regular exercise: I don’t have to tell you about its effects on the brain and body, you already know it. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy and stick to it. Even better if it can be outside in the winter, to get the natural light.

  9. Sauna! Especially when alternating with cold water exposure, sauna is a prime example of hormesis – the beneficial effects of a mild, transient stress on the body. This practice is great for detoxification, your immune system and feel-good ENDORPHINS!

  10. Prioritise sleep: Quality sleep is THE magic elixir for mental and physical health. And we need more of it in the dark winter months. Develop and protect a good sleep hygiene to ensure a restful and rejuvenating sleep. It’s fab to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy!

Have you already dropped your New Year’s resolutions? Don’t worry - you can always recommit to healthy habits. Today (and every day) is a great day for that!

The key to a healthy habit is: making it SUSTAINABLE.

Diets and New Year’s resolutions typically don’t work – they’re just too hard to sustain. A better, more effect approach is to take small steps that can be sustained over time. It’s about incorporating them into our daily lives. Small steps can lead us somewhere great.

Looking for help in sustaining your healthy habits? Get in touch!

Which healthy habit(s) do you (re)commit to this winter?

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