Do You Have the January Blues?

5 Tips for Overcoming Seasonal Sadness

By Dr. Christy Arthur, Center for Ultra Health January 7, 2024

Me too. It’s common to feel a little down after the rush of the holidays. In fact, the second Monday in January has been dubbed “Blue Monday” by many. A transient lack of energy and motivation may be normal, and generally passes within a week. 

Here are 5 easy things you can do if you feel yourself sliding into the winter doldrums: 

1. Walk outside for at least 10 minutes every day. Just getting outside in sunlight elevates mood. Bonus points if you can find a forest—trees emit phytoncides which boost happiness and connection!

2. Call up your friends, Facetime, and get together. Connection matters.

3. Laugh. Watch a funny movie, or that Netflix special by your favorite comedian. Make dad (or mom!) jokes. Laughing changes your brain for the better.

4. Write it out. Journal your feelings, anxieties, fears, and triumphs. Just getting them out of your head makes space for better thoughts.

5. Express gratitude. Look for the good, instead of focusing on lack. The Five Minute Journal is an amazing app for this!

Sometimes the January blues last longer, or feel more intense. Make an appointment with a medical provider if:

1. You’re not able to get up on time in the morning, causing you to be late or miss obligations.

2. You’re no longer interested in the things that you used to enjoy, and it’s lasted longer than 2 weeks.

3. Everything feels like a major effort, and you are overwhelmed.

4. You feel sad, down, and hopeless for more than 2 weeks.

5. You are sleeping too much, can’t get to sleep at night, or are sleeping most of the day.

6. You are withdrawing and isolating.

7. You are drinking alcohol to cope with poor mood, or sleep issues.

One tricky thing about depression is that it changes how your brain thinks, convincing you that nothing will help you feel better, or no one wants to be with you, or you are a failure. But, that’s not true! In my medical experience, just talking to someone about these feelings can make them feel lighter and more manageable, and allow you a better mindset to make a plan toward feeling better.

And, if you don’t have a trusted medical provider in your corner, consider joining Ultra Primary Care. We are accepting new patients and would love to help you achieve your best physical and mental health. In fact, we are having our first ever “Happiness Hangout” on January 17 at 7 pm at The Center for Ultra Health. All are welcome, and we’d love to see you there. Dr. Christy will be sharing her best happiness hacks and stories, and there will be food and great company, like Beth, from Macaroni KID Roanoke.

RSVP here: Register for the Happiness Hangout

About Dr. Christy Arthur