We asked well-being experts for their best tips to
make January feel a little brighter…
1. Start a new hobby
“Hobbies offer a slice of work-free and
responsibility-free time in our schedules, perfect if you’re struggling with
the back-to-work January blues,” says Gosia Bowling, national lead for mental
health at Nuffield Health.
“In a recent survey on stress and wellbeing, 80% of
participants found spending time on a hobby highly effective in managing
stress. Further research suggests people with some hobbies are less likely to
suffer from low mood and depression,” Bowling adds.
“This is especially needed for those who feel
overwhelmed by their work and ever-growing to-do lists, to recharge their
batteries by doing an activity which sparks joy.”
2. Stretch like an animal
A good stretch may sound simple but it could work
“The multi-million-pound yoga industry is built
around it, and animals understand this better than humans do. To wake yourself
up after having had a good sleep or sitting down for a long time, we get ready
for movement and work by automatically stretching our body,” says Jan P. de
Jonge, a psychologist with Feel Good Contacts’.
“It’s what’s called ‘natural pandiculation’,
yawning, stretching your arms, arching your back, making yourself as stretched
out as possible after first tensing your muscles. Try to become more aware of
your own body by contracting your muscles, stretching out slowly, and then
3. Create healthy boundaries
Life coach Becky Hall, author of The Art of Enough,
suggests trying to “fall in love with limits” – in other words, set some
“Limits often get a bad rap, but instead of
thinking of them as restrictive, re-frame them as containers. When we are able
to set boundaries and keep them, we free ourselves up to live with balance –
spending time on all the things that matter, not just the most demanding
things,” she explains.
4. Steer clear of the comparison trap
“Focus on thriving, not striving,” says Hall.
“Notice when you are pulled towards something because you are comparing
yourself with others, or feel you lack something – striving for the next thing.
“Instead, what does it take for you to flourish?
What really nurtures the whole of you? Give time to what feels like enough for
you, not what you feel you should be doing. It will set you free to be
5. Limit screen time
We all know we are addicted to our phones, yet
rarely do anything about it. Just because it is cold and dreary, sitting and
scrolling all day long is probably not the answer.
“Our work and home life are becoming increasingly
blurred, so try to limit your screen time when you’re not working. We all know
how bad it can be for our health. Also, stress and sleep don’t mix, so it’s
important to use the time before you go to bed to de-stress,” says De Jonge.
“Reduce your exposure to screens in the hours
leading to bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens disrupts your
sleep-wake cycle and can lead to wakefulness and lower quality sleep.”