Beat the January Blues

Beat the blues – supporting your employees and colleagues
It’s the time of year when we’re expected to feel joyful and hopeful as we plan for the future. Yet, it is common for many to experience the ‘January blues’ during this time of year.

Alison Gardiner, a GP at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, explains the difference between the January blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and also provides tips on achieving good mental health.

January blues are often situational and associated with the way we think and feel about a situation, for instance it could be the winter weather, returning to work after a holiday, a significant life event or finances.  If however you experience these feelings for longer periods and it hinders your ability to enjoy life, you may be facing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Symptoms of the blues and SAD are similar – there’s lack of motivation, with a sense of hopelessness, energy is low, sleep is disturbed and appetite decreases. 

As an employer, it’s important to recognise these symptoms in your staff and provide support and guidance. Alternatively, you can recommend that a visit to a GP to discuss a course of action. Treatments for SAD include light therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling or medication.

Tips to promote for good mental health:

  1. Create a happy pack to refer too when feeling low – this could include items you love such as a favourite movie or book, bubble bath or candles
  2. Exercise regularly – when you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in your mind
  3. Eat right – a diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil can benefit mood.  Don’t over-indulge in carbohydrates and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed as these all play a significant role in the quality of sleep we have
  4. Be tech smart – being constantly connected to technology can have a negative impact on your mood. Switch off in the evening and read a book or have a bath to relax instead
  5. Social contact – planning to see friends to stay connected

To make an appointment at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital’s GP practice, call 01202 702808 or visit

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